As violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip escalates, Arab citizens of Israel have taken to the streets for the largest mass protests seen in decades.

Those demonstrations have increasingly given way to violent unrest. On Wednesday night, a large group of Israelis pulled a man believed to be Arab from his car and beat him. Windows of Arab-owned businesses have been smashed, while Arabs have attacked synagogues and shops.

Many of the Arab Israelis taking part in the uprisings are angered not only by the ongoing airstrikes against Palestinians but also their own sense of being second-class citizens.

Some Israelis worry that the clashes between Jewish and Arab citizens will cause irreparable harm to the social fabric or could even trigger a civil war. Here is what you need to know about the history of Arab citizens of Israel and the conditions they face as a minority group.

What to know

  • How many Arabs are citizens of Israel?
  • Do Arab Israelis hold the same rights as other Israeli citizens?
  • Where do Arab Israelis stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
  • How much political influence do Arab citizens have in Israel?