Israel's Arab Minority

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. 


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:


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.


Related Articles

Jerusalem under Israeli Control

Israel's Christian Community Is Growing

Demographics of Israel (end of 2022)

Related Resources

Was Israel Founded on Stolen Arab Land? (Article & Podcast)

History of Jerusalem (Video)