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According to Sammy Smooha, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Haifa, the answer to the question of whether racism exists in Israel depends on the definition of racism adopted. van den Berghe's view is adopted, that the term racism must be restricted to beliefs that a given biological race is superior, then ethnocentrism can be found in Israel, but not racism.
According to other definitions, racism is a belief that membership in a certain group, not necessarily genetic or biological, determines the qualities of individuals.
According to the 1998 Report of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination found that the Convention "is far from fully implemented in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and that the shortfall contributes very significantly to the dangerous escalation of tension in the region.".
The report positively noted the measures taken by Israel to prohibit the activities of racist political parties, the amendment of the Equal Opportunity in Employment Law, prohibiting discrimination in the labour sphere on the grounds of national ethnic origin, country of origin, beliefs, political views, political party, affiliation or age, and the Israeli efforts to reduce and eventually eradicate the economic and educational gap between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry describes the country as "Not a melting pot society, but rather more of a mosaic made up of different population groups coexisting in the framework of a democratic state" Racism against Arabs on the part of the Israeli state and some Israeli Jews has been identified by critics in personal attitudes, the media, education, immigration rights, housing segregation, and social life.
Nearly all such characterizations have been denied by the state of Israel.
The state did not do enough or try hard enough to create equality for its Arab citizens or to uproot discriminatory or unjust phenomenon." According to the 2004 U. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government had done "little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country's Arab citizens." The 2005 US Department of State report on Israel wrote: "[T]he government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas, including...Racism in Israel refers to all forms and manifestations of racism experienced in Israel, irrespective of the colour or creed of the perpetrator and victim, or their citizenship, residency, or visitor status.More specifically in the Israeli context, however, racism in Israel refers to racism directed against Israeli Arabs by Israeli Jews, historic and current racism towards Mizrahi Jews and Jews of color), and racism on the part of Israeli Arabs against Israeli Jews.Racism on the part of Israeli Jews against Muslim Arabs in Israel exist in institutional policies, personal attitudes, the media, education, immigration rights, housing, social life and legal policies.Some elements within the Ashkenazi Israeli Jewish population have also been described as holding discriminatory attitudes towards fellow Jews of other backgrounds, including against Ethiopian Jews, Indian Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Sephardi Jews, etc.
Half wanted the Israeli government to encourage Israeli Arabs to emigrate.