This study tested the relative contribution of cognitive and social factors to reading comprehension in a second language in a problematic social context. The attitudes, culture, and individual interest of minority Arab learners were tested in relation to students reading comprehension using three culturally different stories. The participants were 120 minority Arab students learning Hebrew as a second language at three high schools in northern Israel. An attitude questionnaire, cultural stories, and questions about them, and an individual reading interest questionnaire were administered. The results indicated that the individual interest of readers, the cultural content of text, and instrumental motivation were significant predictors of reading comprehension in a second language. The results of this study are discussed in the light of minority education in the Israeli-Arab social context.