Hate speech against Arabs in Israel reached all-time high in 2021

Written by on July 17, 2021

Record-high numbers of anti-Arab hate speech were recorded across Israel in the past year, but the number has started to decline since the inauguration of the new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a new study from the Berl Katznelson Foundation has found.

The Berl Katznelson Foundation’s hate report project was created in collaboration with the research company Vigo and is a technological platform that monitors Hebrew language hate speech on the internet.

The platform moniters over half a million items every hour from every part of social media, and inludes in-depth analyses of incitement and hatred in Hebrew, and includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

The current hate report monitored hate speech from August 1, 2020 until July 15, 2020, and in that time period an estimated 5.2 million offensive statements, curses, and calls for violence were made in the Hebrew language. 

This number marked an increase of 9% from the reported numbers of the previous year.

The hate speech peaked in two specific places, first in October 2020 and again in February, both for reasons related to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the weekly protests that took place outside the Prime Minister’s Residence. By February, the hate speech had already expanded to include incidents related to demonstrations and violence in Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm.

The hate speech towards Israeli Arabs continued to grow, and peaked in May 2021, when an unprecedented amount of anti-Arab hate speech was recorded. This was due to increased tension between Jews and Arabs inside Israel, including riots in mixed cities from the north to the south, and the 11-day Guardian of the Walls operation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

However, a downward trend has been noted since June and has continued into July. This may be attributed to the new government, which is led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and encompasses wide range of political ideologies.

Overall, 32% of hate speeech in Israel is directed at Arab-Israelis, making them the most targetted population in Israel for hate speech.

The second most targetted population, for the second year runnning, is the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) population, and an estimated 17% of all online hate is directed at them.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the places and people that Hebrew language hate speech was directed at throughout the last year:

Population

Amount of Hate Comments

Percentage of Hate Speech

Arabs

271405

32.7

Haredim

144889

17.4

Leftists

115263

13.9

Mizrahim

66511

8

Ashkenazim

39494

4.7

LGBTQ

66105

7.9

Right-wing

50277

6

Refugees

30186

3.6

Russians

17527

2.1

Settlers

18897

2.2

Ethiopians

7992

1

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