TEL AVIV – According to an expert on Arab opinion, 17% of Israeli-Arabs support ISIS, while 57% believe that the Islamic Movement represents them, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The study, due to be released on Monday, was conducted by Professor Sammy Smooha from the University of Haifa. It compiles the findings of an opinion survey of the adult Israeli-Arab population conducted from May to July. Druze and Christian Arabs were included in the poll. Smooha has been tracking Israeli-Arab opinion since 1976.
The majority of Israeli-Arabs agreed that ISIS is an extremist terrorist organization and, as Arabs, they felt ashamed of it. The number of respondents disagreeing with this statement was 17%, but among those with higher education the number rose to 20%.
Twenty-eight percent disagreed with the statement that the Islamic Movement – and in particular its more extreme Northern Branch – represents them. The Northern Branch, which rejects the Oslo Peace Accords and favors the implementation of Sharia law in Israel, was recently outlawed by the Israeli security cabinet.
The decision ignited protests in northern Israel. Hundreds of members of Israel’s Arab community marched and carried signs declaring, “The Islamic Movement is stronger than the laws of the occupying state.”
Commenting on the percentage of those in favor of ISIS, Smooha said it is possible that some Israeli-Arabs laud the terrorist organization as a powerful movement that can stand up to Israel and major world leaders.
“Some of these people left to fight in Syria,” Smooha said.
He also acknowledged that they represent “a minority that is very against coexistence,” which “hopes to replace Israel through violence with an Islamic state.”