December 10, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- A new poll released Monday shows that half of Israeli Arabs would not vote in the Jan. 22 elections.

The poll, aimed to check patterns of behavior related to the elections among Israeli Arabs, who constitute 20 percent of Israel 's population, was conducted by the Statnet Company for the Political Science department in the University of Haifa.

Other worrisome data reveals that 82 percent of the respondents cited they have no faith in the government or the politicians and 67 percent said they lack confidence in the Arab political parties.

Out of 455 respondents, more than half said they are not planning to vote in the upcoming elections, a similar figure to the last elections in 2009, in which 54 percent of Israeli Arabs cast a vote.

The poll also found that 79 percent of respondents said they had little or no faith in the state institutions, especially the Knesset (parliament).

As for the issues that Israeli Arabs are most occupied with, 47 percent of the respondents said they are most worried about unemployment, housing, health and education, and 26 percent cited their concerns over the inequality they suffer from in the Jewish state.

"The Arab population has lost all hope in the state of Israel and its institutions after many years of neglect in the Arab communities," Ayelet Naor from the Abraham Fund Initiative, an NGO working to promote and integrate Israeli Arabs within the society, told Xinhua Monday in response to the poll's findings.

"Throughout the walks of life they are considered second, or third of fourth-rate citizens. For them, all the things the Jewish population in Israel takes for granted like infrastructure, education... all the basic things in life are not taken for granted," she added.

A study held in October by the NGO found that a majority of the Arab population think their vote is ineffective. Out of 500 respondents, 51 percent say they would stay home because they cannot influence the decision-making anyway.


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