Foreign Policy Digital

Palestinian in Israel

The population the government refers to as "Arab-Israeli" is increasingly embracing the term "Palestinian."

HAIFA, Israel—Rabea Eid has a message for you: Stop calling him Arab-Israeli.

“I don’t use the term Arab-Israeli,” said the 30-year-old journalist, who was born in the Galilee and now lives in the northern city of Haifa. “We are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. It’s very important for us, the terms and the terminology we use.”

For Eid, the term Arab-Israeli is too removed from politics. Or, as he sees it, “It puts the Arab disconnected from the Palestinian identity.”

Arab-Israeli—the official media and Israeli government term for the 20 percent of Israel’s almost 9 million citizens who are Arab-Palestinian—is increasingly unpopular among the people it’s meant to describe. Only 16 percent of this population wants to be called Arab-Israeli, according to a 2017 survey by the University of Haifa professor Sammy Smooha provided to Foreign Policy.

“The largest now and the most growing identity is

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