The status of the Arab minority (also referred to as Palestinians or Arab-Israelis) in Israel has been a persistent question since the 1948 war, or as the Arab minority identifies it, “Al-Nakba” or “Catastrophe.” While Israel self-identifies as the nation-state of the Jewish people, approximately twenty percent of people within its borders identify as Arab, —forming the so-called “5th column” — yet, it often unclear what their rights and roles are in a state that has historically discriminated against them and treated them as second class citizens. The fight for collective rights has been a decades-long struggle, hindered in part due to the divisions within the Arab community, which is made up of Druze, Christians, Bedouins, and Muslims, groups with different political interests and priorities. The lack of unification has kept them from gaining collective rights or significant political clout within Israel. To this day, Arab citizens are disproportionately impoverished, unemployed, and uneducated compared to their Israeli peers. However, the path to a solution is complicated by both external and internal Israeli security concerns and a desire to maintain the character of a Jewish State. While the alienated Palestinian minority poses a legitimate challenge to the future of Israel, the status quo is unlikely to change. Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the Arab minority has been subject to policies and attitudes, in the name of Israel’s security, that have engendered inequality, discrimination, and divisions within the Arab community. Thus, the Arab minority has neither been able to form a cohesive identity as Palestinians or alternatively, assimilate into Israeli society.
On May 1...
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...his lofty ideal. Israel has continued to struggle with its identity as both a democracy and a distinctly Jewish state, as these two goals often seem at odds with one another. The Arab minority in Israel have experienced persistent inequality, discrimination, exclusion and neglect; they are effectively second class citizens of Israel. Nonetheless, compared to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, they are undeniably better off and they enjoy more political rights than they would in many Arab states. Furthermore, the Arab minority has achieved significant socioeconomic gains, and standards of living, employment rates, levels of education and income have risen greatly since 1948. The life expectancy of Arabs has increased dramatically and infant mortality has decreased precipitously, clear indications of better quality of life and improvements in access to healthcare.
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