Poll: Parents Split on Including Arab Students, Teachers in Classrooms

Israeli kids wearing school bags on their way to school. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

When it comes to education, Israelis prefer “their own,” both in the class and at the head of the class. A new poll of Israeli parents whose children attend state secular schools shows that 48% would not want an Arab teacher for their children, while about half said they would not want Arab students in the same class as their children.

The findings were based on a scientifically-based sample of 500 Israeli households by the Dialog polling organization on behalf of the Kinneret Academic College. According to the poll, parents in state schools are more open to the idea of a chareidi teacher: 58 percent said they had no problem with that, while 42 percent said they would oppose it. Only 14 percent said that they would have an issue with a teacher of Ethiopian background; 86 percent said that such a teacher would be acceptable. 83 percent also said that a teacher with a Religious Zionist background would be fine with them, with 17 percent preferring only secular teachers.

Besides preferring that their children not study with Arabs, 34 percent said they would not like the idea of chareidi students in their children’s classes, 12 percent said no to Ethiopian students, and 13 percent did not want Religious Zionist students. It should be noted, however, that the reasons given for these positions was the fear that the overall education level in the classroom would be brought down by “weaker” students.

Parents in Yerushalayim were the least opposed to Arab teachers, with 41 percent agreeing to the idea, with parents in Tel Aviv and the North most opposed (52 percent). Parents in Haifa were less amenable to classes with Arabs, with only 41 percent in favor.