The Israeli Arabs, about 18% of Israel population, are living in a confusing situation. On one hand they enjoy a high economic level of life and the democratic system of Israel, including the protection of legal human rights. On the other hand they reject the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, which, from their point of view, places them as second class citizens and they feel solidarity with the struggle of their fellow Palestinians, often their own relatives, against Israel. Indeed, alongside large scale cooperation between Jews and Arabs in Israel, there is also a degree of mutual distrust and eruptions of violence.
In the last decade the secular movements in the Palestinian society, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with the aim of building a social democratic Arab society in Palestine, or the PLO – Palestinian Liberation Organization, led by the Fatah and aimed to a secular democratic Palestinian state, gave way to Islamic movements such as the Hamas, PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad or even Al Qaeda. It is not a phenomena unique to the Palestinian society but to all the Muslim world and all the Middle East.
The goal of the Islamic movements is not democracy but a Muslim society run according to Islamic law – Shariaa. The Jihady movement rejects co existence on Islamic soil with other non- Muslim communities and, in the specific case of Palestine, with a Jewish community which should be expelled or annihilated but can not remain, as a community, under Islamic rule.
The general shift of attitude toward the Jewish state in the middle of the Muslim World and Middle East has a grip on Israeli Arab youngsters who began, recently, to adopt the Islamic attitude toward Israel – not peace, co-existence or compromise with Israel but a struggle to put an end to any Jewish entity on Muslim soil in the Middle East.
Three cells of Israeli Arabs who joined Islamic terror, either through the web or by connecting Islamic operatives during studies abroad, were arrested in the last month – August 2008 (see – Shfaram 08.28.08).
The new development is risking the mutual relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel but even more the achievements of Israeli Arabs living in a democratic society. Radical fanatic Islam is a much greater threat to the Israeli Arabs then to the State of Israel as such.