At the close of 2023, statistics showed one-fifth of Israel's population (approximately 21%) is Arab. This is approximately 2 million Arabs who enjoy full equal civil rights. Most are considered permanent residents.
"In our whole region consisting of over 350 million Arabs, there are only 1,658,000 Arabs who have complete political and religious freedom and have the right to vote in full democratic elections. It is no coincidence that all of these Arabs live as full and equal citizens in the one Jewish State." —Hamad Amar, Druze Israeli citizen and Deputy Speaker of Israel's Knesset
Israel's Arab sector is well ahead of most Arab populations in the region in terms of economic development and well being. However, there are still major challenges within the Israeli Arab community, which lags well behind the country's averages according to most economic indicators.
- Read about one Israeli Arab woman and the rights and freedoms she routinely enjoys.
- Israeli Arab tells UNHRC to "end witch hunt" of Israel, only place in Middle East where Christians are safe.
- Official PA Newspaper lauds Israel's treatment of Palestinian workers
- Christian Arab now an Israeli Diplomat tells story of his family once refugees.
- Meet an Israeli Muslim Arab serving in the IDF.
A few facts about Israel's Arab minority:
- Arabic and Hebrew are both official languages in Israel.
- There are five official Israeli-Arab political parties - and many Israeli-Arab politicians. Israeli-Arabs hold ten percent of the seats in Israel's current parliament.
- Israel's government administers a range of programs to help minority citizens advance their social and economic standing.
- Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population has grown.
- Many Israeli-Arabs have reached the highest levels of government, business and the arts in Israel, including:
- Salim Jurban, Supreme Court Justice, who helped to foster ties between Jews and Arabs and oversaw the trial of former Israeli President Moshe Katzav
- Nawaf Massalha, a politician and the former Deputy Foreign Minister
- Mira Awwad, popular singer who represented Israel in the Eurovision song contest. Watch her Eurovision performance.
- Angelina Fares, the former Ms. Israel. Watch this PBS story on her.
- Ali Yahya, Walid Mansour and Mohammed Masarwa, Israeli Ambassadors
- Major General Hussain Fares, Head Commander of the Border Police
Israel's War with Hamas, which started with Hamas' invasion of southern Israel on October 7, 2023, increased Israel's Arab minority's sense of solidarity with Israel. Many Arabs have found themselves explaining they are not Hamas. At the same time, tensions between Jews and Arabs escalated in the months after the war began.
Demographics of Israel (end of 2022)
Was Israel Founded on Stolen Arab Land? (Article & Podcast)
History of Jerusalem (Video)