MYTH: Israel Practices Ethnic Cleansing Against Arabs

The Druz (pictured above waving Druze and Israeli flags) are one of many groups of Arabs in Israel, all of which enjoy equal rights under Israeli law (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons, סאלח עקל ח'טיב).

FACT: Simple statistics prove this claim to be false. Israel’s Arab population continues to grow, even at higher rates than its Jewish population. During 2013, Israel’s Jewish population rose by 1.8 percent, while its Arab population rose by 2.4 percent. Moreover, the Arab population in Gaza rose 5.5 fold under Israeli control between 1967 and 2005, while the Arab population in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) heavily increased as well.

Israel’s Arabs have a higher standard of living than those in any other Middle Eastern country. It is 16th on the UN Human Development Index – classifying it as the only “Very Highly Developed” country in the region – and all of its citizens experience the benefits. Nearly 70 percent of Israeli Arabs say they would prefer to live in Israel than any other country.

All of Israel’s citizens receive universal healthcare and free education. Israel is the only Middle Eastern country with freedom of the press, and there are dozens of Arabic newspapers, television channels, and radio stations in Israel. Arabs are members of the military, legislature, and judiciary, actively participating in the region’s only democratic government. Israel is the Middle East’s leading (and only) advocate for women’s and LGBTQ rights. Israel guarantees all of its citizens equal rights in its Declaration of Independence, “irrespective of religion, race, or sex.”

Many accuse Israel of attempting to ethnically cleanse Arabs from Gaza. However, this claim is also based in fantasy and hatred. Israel goes out of its way to protect Arab civilians in Gaza from Hamas (the internationally recognized terrorist group that controls Gaza and uses Palestinian-Arab children as human shields). Learn more about how the IDF does this at “Myth: The Israel Defense Forces Intentionally Kills Civilians In Gaza.”

To learn more about the rights and opportunities Arab-Israelis enjoy, please view ZOA Campus’s fact sheet on diversity and human rights in Israel.