Current Research Projects
  • Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel
    A new annual index of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel was launched in 2003. It examines the attitudes of Arab and Jewish citizens toward each other and toward the state. It covers 15 key issues that divide the two communities. The study draws on national representative samples of Arabs (700 face-to-face interviews) and Jews (700 phone interviews). The new Index serves as a scientific instrument for measuring and monitoring attitudes of Israel’s Arab minority and Jewish majority on coexistence questions, for assisting policy making and coexistence organizations, and for promoting democracy and tolerance. The publication Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel 2004 provides full report of the 2004 Index: view/download English versionview/download Hebrew version. Highlights of the findings of the 2006 Index: view/download Hebrew version; view/download English version. Highlights of the findings of the 2007 Index: view/download Hebrew version; view/download English version. Highlights of the findings of the 2007 Index relating to the Arab visionary documents and Israel's character: view/download Hebrew version. Highlights of the findings of the 2008 Index: view/download English version; view/download Hebrew version. The publication Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel 2003-2009 provides an overview of the findings in the 2000s: view/download
  • Civic Service for Arabs in Israel
    Voluntary civic service has been in existence since the early 1970s, but it has been limited mostly to religious-national Jewish girls. It has gathered momentum only in 2007 after the Government adopted the Ivry Commission recommendations to open up the service to the ultra-orthodox (Haredim), Arabs and other youth exempted from compulsory military service, and established a special administration for this purpose. The Arab leadership, not affiliated to the Jewish establishment, opposes civic service for Arabs and conducts intense struggle against it lest it would set a precedent for compulsory civic or military service, accelerate the Israelization process and the blurring of national identity of Arab youth and because the project is implemented without its participation.
    In order to get a scientific and updated data on Arab public opinion toward civic service and to assess the willingness of Arab youth to volunteer, an attitude survey was conducted in October 2007 on this topic. It was found that although most Arabs lacked sufficient information, they were in favor of the program (the degree of support was over 70% of the youth, their parents, the general public, and the leaders affiliated to the Jewish establishment, but less than 10% of independent leaders). The study was published in Civic Service for Arabs in Israel: Findings of Attitude Survey of the Arab Public and Leadership in Fall 2007 (in Hebrew with abstracts in English and Arabic): view/download. This project is continued in 2009 by by new surveys of the Arab public, youth, volunteers, and veterans. The 2009 research findings were published by Sammy Smooha and Zohar Lechtman in Civic Service for Arabs in Israel: 2009 Research Findings (in Hebrew with an abstract in English): view/download


  • Comparative Study of Ethnic Democracies
    This project was initiated in the late 1980s with the development of a new model of democracy that better captures the type of democracy in existence in Israel. The main thesis is that Israel is neither liberal nor consociational democracy but rather an ethnic democracy that declares and institutionalizes Israel as the state of the Jewish people, provides the Jewish majority with control of the state and bestows democratic rights on the Arab minority. One of the publications on Israel as an ethnic democracy is "The Model of Ethnic Democracy: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State". view/download
    The model was further developed by a comparative study of minority issues in post-Communist Europe, undertaken as a joint venture with the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Flensburg, Germany. The break-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia has unleashed two grand forces: a drive for democratization on Western lines and resurgence of ethnonational conflicts. It is anticipated that these post-Communist states may develop a new regime that combines institutionalized dominance of an ethnic majority with democratic rights for all. This mixed, non-Western type of system is amenable for analysis by the model of ethnic democracy, based on Israel. The model is applied by country specialists to Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. From these seven case studies, comparisons and conclusions were drawn about the model and regimes in post-Communist Europe. The study was published in a volume The Fate of Ethnic Democracy in Post-Communist Europe, co-edited by Sammy Smooha and Priit Jarve. view/download
    The next and present part of the ethnic democracy project is a comparative study of Israel, Slovakia, Estonia, Macedonia and Northern Ireland.



Ongoing Research

  • Arabs and Jews in Israel

  • Mizrahim and Ashkenazim (Non-European and European Jews) in Israel.

  • Implications of Transition to Peace (Non-Belligerency) for Israeli Society

Past Research
  • Israel and Northern Ireland

  • Ethnic Leadership in Israel

  • Comparative Study of Intergroup Relations in Israel