Poll shows Israeli Arabs feel more like Palestinians

Forty-six percent described themselves as Palestinians or Arab-Palestinians in Israel, while 21 percent opted for the description of Palestinian Arabs, 9 percent as Arabs and just over 3 percent as Palestinians.

Only 11 percent chose the option of describing themselves as Israeli Arabs, which had been the common practice in the past. And just 4 percent described themselves as Israelis.

Ghanem, who has been monitoring the changing attitudes of the Arab community over the years, said that 500 people, chosen at random, were interviewed for the poll, which has a 4 percent margin of error.

He noted that when the same questions were put to interviewees in a similar poll five years ago, more than 38 percent described themselves as Israeli Arabs and nearly 8 percent as Israelis, while 27 percent at that time chose the title of Palestinians or Arab-Palestinians in Israel.

"The findings show quite clearly a trend of Arabs in Israel adopting a more Palestinian identity and less of an Israeli identity," Ghanem said.

The results of the latest poll, he added, reflect deep disappointment on the part of Israeli Arabs over the attitude of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government toward them, especially compared to days of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's government.

"Rabin treated the Arabs with respect and met with their leaders, whereas Barak refuses to appear with them in the media or shake hands with them. And this has caused a great deal of frustration, quite apart from all the problems in the Arab sector that remain unresolved," Ghanem said.