large non-Jewish minority in Israel is Arab, representing about one
fifth of the country’s population. Most of Israel’s Arabs live in Arab
settlements in the Galilee, on the eastern coastal plane and in the northern Negev. There are also large concentrations of Arabs in mixed cities such as Haifa, Jerusalem, Acre and Ramle.
vast majority of Israel’s Arabs are Sunnite Moslems, with only about
one tenth being Christian (mostly members of the Greek-Orthodox Church).
Among Israel’s Arabs are the Bedouins, Moslem Arabs whose forefathers
lived as nomads. Israel’s Bedouins have moved into permanent settlements
mainly in the northern Negev, but also in the Galilee. The Druze (see
below), although a separate religious community, are also Arabs.
Israel has more ethnic and religious groups. Here are the main ones:
Members of a religion that developed from Shiite Islam in the 11th
century, and whose adherents are concentrated in Syria, Lebanon and
Israel. Some 115,000 Druze currently live in Israel, in 17 settlements
on Mount Carmel, in the Galilee and on the Golan Heights.
Members of a Moslem, non-Arab people whose came from the Caucasus. When
their country was captured by the Russians in the 19th century, many
Circassians immigrated to the Ottoman Empire, and some arrived in the
Land of Israel, where they established the villages of Rikhaniya and
Members of a national-religious community whose religion is very close
to Judaism. The Samaritan community developed following the Assyrian
conquest of the Kingdom of Israel, when members of the Kingdom of Israel
who remained in the land combined with members of peoples exiled by the
Assyrian kings to the region. In ancient times, the community was large
and strong. However, unsuccessful rebellions during the Byzantine
Period along with pressure exerted by the Moslems on the Samaritans to
convert to Islam gradually reduced their numbers. There now remain some
700 Samaritans, half of whom live in Nablus (Shkhem) and half in Holon