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A fifth of Irish would bar Israelis from becoming citizens

JTA

May 27, 2011 | 10:31 am

More than one in five Irish people would bar Israelis from becoming naturalized Irish citizens, according to new research into ethnic and religious attitudes in Ireland.

The book-length study, “Pluralism and Diversity in Ireland,” found that 22.2% of Irish people would exclude Israelis from Irish citizenship, while 11.5% would deny it to all Jews.

Israelis as a group also had one of the lowest favorable ratings among Irish people, ranking 44th out of 51 categories.

“There is a real danger that the public image of ‘Israeli’ can lead to an increase in anti-Semitism,” the book’s author, Jesuit priest and sociologist Father Micheál Mac Gréil, told The Irish Catholic newspaper.

The research found prejudice against Jews was most prevalent among young adults in the 18-25 age group. Only 53.6% of this group would accept a Jewish person in their family, versus 60.7% for Irish people of all ages.

Israelis were considered less acceptable as kin, with only 47.9% of Irish people prepared to admit an Israeli into their family.

The Republic of Ireland’s Jewish population is less than 2,000 out of a total of 4.5 million.

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