More than a quarter of Israel's Arab citizens believe the Holocaust never happened, and nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews avoid entering Arab towns
The poll, conducted by Sami Smoocha, a prominent sociologist at the University of Haifa, showed a wide gap of mistrust, anger and fear between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens.
In its most dramatic finding, the poll showed that 28 percent of Israeli Arabs did not believe the Holocaust happened, and that among high school and college graduates the figure was even higher - 33 percent.
According to Smoocha's analysis, radicals in the Arab world believe the Holocaust to be a political event, and many feel that by denying it they are expressing opposition to Israel.
Among Israeli Jews, 63 percent said they avoid entering Arab towns and cities, and 68 percent fear the possibility of civil unrest among Israeli Arabs.
Pollsters interviewed 721 Arabs and 702 Jews. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.
Asked about the war with Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon last summer, nearly half of the Israeli Arabs polled - 48 percent - said they believed that Hizbullah's rocket attacks on northern Israel during that war were justified, even though numerous Arabs were killed and wounded in those attacks.
While 89 percent said they viewed the IDF's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime, only 44 percent said they saw Hizbullah's attacks on Israel as such. Hizbullah pelted northern Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets.
Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hizbullah's capture of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid was justified. That incident sparked the 34-day conflict.
In a press release accompanying the poll's publication, Smoocha expressed surprise at the results.
"One would have expected more pro-Israeli results among Israeli Arabs due to the uniqueness of the most recent war: a war with no involvement of the Palestinians, a war in which the lives and belongings of Israelis were endangered, a war against an Islamic fundamentalist group that most of them don't support," Smoocha said.
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