Identity Crisis: The Israeli ID System

Today I saw this graphic, shared by Stephen Sizer on Facebook, and found it to be informative, although it certainly doesn’t touch on every issue concerning the Israeli/Palestinian situation. The statistics are said to be valid as of 2011. This graphic illustrates a range of disparities between three groups of people when it comes to freedom, restrictions, living access, and voting:

  • 5.9 million Jewish citizens in Israel
  • 5.5 million Palestinians in Israel, East Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip
  • 5.7 million Palestinian exiles/refugees with no access to Israel or the Palestinian territories

Graphic courtesy of Electronic Intifada and Visualizing Palestine

4 thoughts on “Identity Crisis: The Israeli ID System

  1. It is the statistics at the beginning of the conflict that tell us more about the issue of ethnic cleansing. With regard to the origins of the Palestinians ” half of us are Egyptians, and the other half are Saudi Arabians ” This was said in an interview with Egyptian TV by the leader of Hamas. Winston Churchill said in 1939 that the extent of illegal Arab immigration into Palestine was so great that the whole of world Jewry would not be able to sustain it. For the exact words of both, check it out – it is in the public domain. Huge Arab immigration into the area emanated from Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Arabia, and Muslims from Slavic lands.
    As to the land being occupied by a whole nation of Palestinians, it was desolate. My own great great grandfather, the Archdeacon of the Isle of Man, Joshua Hughes-Games, was an Anglican theologian of note, and in a diary of his visit to the Holy Land in the 1890’s he noted that there were very few people there, and was shocked at the desolation of the land. Knowing the great Christian that he was, I trust his statistics more than anyone’s!


  2. Hi Paul. The leader of Hamas certainly exaggerated. There are testimonies from Palestinian Christians living at the time of Israel’s creation in 1948, who say they can trace their family history in the land there almost to the time of Christ. Elias Chacour, for example, shares such a testimony in his book, “Blood Brothers.” There is also this piece of information:

    “According to Ottoman [empire] statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, the population of Palestine in the early 19th century was 350,000, in 1860 it was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000, of which 94% were Arabs. In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews. McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946.”

    Source:; McCarthy is a demographer and professor at the University of Louisville [Kentucky])

    Jews made up 11% of the population in 1922, and 30% of the population in 1942. See this post for a couple of charts showing how the numbers changed in the decades leading up to 1948:

    Regardless of these things, the present discrimination and second-class treatment of Palestinians is an injustice in many ways. The graphic in this post demonstrates just a portion of it.


  3. Hi Adam

    The Christian Palestinians are an exception, and they genuinely do have roots in the area. In fact, the majority of them used to be Jews, something which is evident even in their genetics, which show them to be very closely related genetically to Israeli Jews. They also form a very small minority of the populations of whom we speak, and have themselves often left the area because of Muslim persecution.

    As for Jewish immigration into the land, we know this. It is just that Arab immigration was greater. I would tend to trust Churchill’s observations a lot more than the Ottoman statistics, which in any case, show the number of Muslims, but not how they got there. It is precisely because it was an empire that people not indigenous to the area moved freely into it, and even more so under British control.

    However, 350 000 in the 19th century sounds about right. It is a small number. Approximately 700 000 left in 1948. If that had been a displacement of the entire Arab population as has been erroneously claimed, then it would be impossible to explain how the population of Israeli Arabs today, within Israel’s borders numbers nearly half that of the Jewish population, some one and a half million.

    I would agree with you that to be a non Jew in Israel can be a second class citizen experience. However, it is the only country in the Middle East where women can be MP’s, and it was an Arab judge who sentenced the ex Israeli president to imprisonment , quite rightly for rape. This would never have occurred in South Africa, which is why the apartheid parallels drawn are so misleading, and why prominent ANC members are now getting annoyed that they are made, because it minimizes the very real suffering of black people in apartheid years. By comparison, enemies of Hamas are thrown out of ten story buildings. No-one however, has anything to say about this !


    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your response. Yes, things are dismal in a number of the Middle Eastern nations around Israel. I’m unaware of the enemies of Hamas being thrown out of 10-story buildings. If that’s true, that’s really awful.


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