Many people, and especially many Israeli Jews, think of the Arab minority in Israel as a fifth column, a source of traitors and anti-Zionists. But, there are positive reasons for Israel to have an Arab minority, even if the Arabs themselves don’t like being a minority in Israel.
First is the experience of democracy. There is no democratic tradition in Islam and in the Arab world, in fact there is no democracy in the Arab world, most of the Arab countries are either failed states, such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, or are autocracies, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Tunisia is trying to be a democracy, but as the recent attack on the museum in Tunis that killed 20 people shows, it is not easy. In the wider Muslim world only Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia are functioning democracies.
The experience of the Israeli Arabs can be a bridge to the wider Arab world, showing them the advantages of a peaceful, democratic system, where differences are decided by vote and not by violence. The fact that the three main Arab parties from the last Knesset, nationalist, communist and Islamist, were able to Unite to form the United Arab list for this election, shows that they have learned a lot, and that this could not have happened in any other Arab political environment. Since the United Arab list gained 12 seats and is the third largest party, this shows that Israel’s democracy is flourishing, especially when it includes a minority (20%) most of whom only nominally support the concept of a democratic Jewish State.
Another reason why the Arab minority is advantageous is that they provide a source of cheap labor. But, I immediately point out that they are by law required to receive the same wages as other (Jewish) workers and do. They are in fact very well paid by Arab standards (compared to other Arab countries) and are relatively well off. They also work in many professional areas, such as pharmacists, teachers, librarians, doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc. etc. as anyone who visits Israel could see for themselves. I would venture to say that Arabs are better integrated into the Israeli workforce than Blacks are integrated in the USA. For example, Salim Joubran is a member of the Israeli Supreme Court and was the Head of the Election Authority in the recent election.
The problem is that no-one advertises this, and most of the world are biased so as not to believe this. They are in fact focussed on the Palestinians, who are NOT Israeli citizens (and don’t want to be Israeli citizens, unless you ask them privately). There is no more reason for Israel to treat the Palestinians of Gaza or the West Bank as if they were Israeli citizens than for Britain to treat the foreigners massed in Dunkirk as if they were British citizens, nor the millions of illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA as if they were American citizens. They are not.
Another reason is that a minority of the Arabs in Israel (ca. 10%) are Christians, and although they are historically identified with the Muslims, this is beginning to change. The Christian population in Israel is increasing, while in all the rest of the Middle East it is decreasing. Recently there was the formation of a movement among Christian Arabs started by a priest in Nazareth to become proud Israeli citizens, to join the IDF and to fight for the survival of Israel. One of the main reasons for this is that they know that they are protected under Israeli democratic law as a Christian minority here, while in all the surrounding countries they have no protection and are being attacked. Also, we have the Arabic-speaking Druse and Circassian minorities, who are pro-Israel, and who serve in the IDF.
Of course, if you ask the Israeli Arabs if they would prefer to remain in Israel or join a Palestinian State, although they attack Israel politically all the time, they definitely prefer to remain in Israel; they are not stupid, look at the alternatives (Hamas or Fatah).