Jump directly to page content

Non-Jewish Minorities and Their Access to Israeli Citizenship

Demographic Threat Perceptions and Ensuing State Strategies

SWP Comment 2016/C 43, 26.09.2016, 8 Pages Research Areas

On Independence Day in May 2016, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the Israeli population had increased tenfold since the State’s establishment in 1948. Leading national newspapers rejoiced that the population has multiplied from an initial 800,000 to almost 8.5 million, a figure ascribable to the highest birth rate in the western world among other facts, such as Jewish immigration. This, in turn, can be attributed to the fact that the state seeks to preserve and promote the country’s Jewish majority. The downside of this policy is the discrimination of minorities living in Israel, which are deemed a demographic threat. This applies not only to Arab Israelis, but also to the growing number of foreign workers who replace labour forces from the Palestinian territories, and to African refugees whose legal integration within the Israeli citizenship system is not foreseen. Less exclusive access to citizenship and the secure legal status of non-Jewish population groups is likely only to be possible if they are no longer viewed as a threat.