The Health of Arab Israelis: A Population in Transition

Dov Chernichovsky, Chen Sharony, Liora Bowers, Bishara Bisharat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Israeli Arab population is subject to major socioeconomic changes resulting from Israel’s very rapid economic growth. In this context, the health of this population – a significant part of the Arab and Muslim world – is improving along with that of the majority Jewish population. However, there are persistent gaps in infant mortality rates (of 4 per 1,000 live births) and in life expectancy (of 4 years) – and also widening gaps for adult males – between Jewish and Arab Israelis, especially Muslim Arabs. These trends are consistent with those of populations in epidemiologic and demographic transition. While the inferior health metric of Arab Israelis compared to Jews is associated with disparities in income and access to care facilities between these populations, some of the differences relate to the different stages of health transition of these groups. The relatively high incidence of congenital disorders – associated with cultural and religious factors – in the Arab Israeli population can explain, in part, the persistent infant mortality gap between the two populations. Similarly, the adverse impact on life expectancy of adults is largely related to the relatively high incidence of road accidents, smoking-related lower respiratory disease among Arab Israelis, as well as diabetes and other chronic conditions. These conditions result from the accelerated modernization taking place in the Israeli Arab population that are not fully offset by socioeconomic advances and improved access to care. In general, the socioeconomic advancement of Israel’s disadvantaged populations and the narrowing income inequality gaps have many implications for healthy behavior and healthcare services; improvements in economic status can help to reduce the average health disparities between these two populations. Yet, considerable behavioral changes, some rooted in traditions, are needed to close the health gaps between Israeli Arabs, notably between the Muslims and Jews.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Healthcare in the Arab World
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9783030368111
ISBN (Print)9783030368104
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021.


  • Arab Israeli
  • Minority’s health
  • Modernization
  • Transition


Dive into the research topics of 'The Health of Arab Israelis: A Population in Transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this