Why should Arab citizens of Israel participate in the elections? The state is not their state, nor is the anthem or the nation-state law, nor are the Knesset and Jewish parties, who flee from them as though from lepers. If they must participate in the elections anyway, it’s due to everyone’s long-term future between the river and the sea, but not to save the Zionist left from its own failure. It doesn’t deserve that.

The left and center remember their existence now just as they remembered the residents of the ma’abarot – the immigrant camps – in the 1950s. That’s nice. But the temerity of the bloc is not only in its belated recollection of the existence of Arab voters to save its own skin, but also in the way it threatens and preaches. Yair Lapid, a famous friend of the Palestinian people, of the Israeli Arabs in particular, and of the Zouabis especially, threatened them the other day in Nazareth. “If your citizens don’t get out and vote,” he warned, “they must understand that what has been given to you in the past year will be taken from them.”

With the condescension of a colonialist, he failed to mention what precisely has “been given to you in the past year.” Have you forgotten the colorful plastic beads thrown at you? Other than that, it is hard to recall a single improvement in their lives, their dignity, or their rights, that might be taken away.

And then they are sanctimoniously preached to. After Uri Misgav (Haaretz Hebrew, Oct. 23) gave them grades on impotence and self-destruction, opining that their leaders lack the proper stature, he blamed them for the worst crime of all: Bringing Benjamin Netanyahu back to power. The man who reminded them of the massacre at the Haifa refinery in 1947 as a proper Zionist retort to the “purist” discussion of the Nakba crimes, and believes that Arabs are “wallowing” in “victimization,” suggested, as a friend, of course, that they realize their right to vote. To what end? Only to save their long-time benefactors.

In an ideal world, no Arab citizen should participate in the elections, until their occupied brethren under Israeli rule are granted the right to vote. Such a degree of solidarity and self-sacrifice is unrealistic. Israeli Arabs wish to influence their fate and future. At the height of their power, the mythical 15 seats won by the full Joint List, the Knesset effectively numbered 105 members. Nobody counted the Joint List’s fabulous fifteen. Since then their power has diminished, but their exclusion has not ended, save Mansour Abbas’ experiment, the results of which are dubious.

Every interview with a centrist MK still begins with the accusatory question: Will you join a government that includes them? With half the election campaign dealing with nothing else, how can one expect the Arabs to turn out and vote? How are they supposed to feel about the demonization and vilification of their representatives, most of whom are among the finest in the Knesset? The minimum that should have been expected of the “Anyone but Bibi” camp is for its leaders to announce with pride: We will do anything to include the Arab parties in the coalition. Only good will come to Israel from a government with them, including the Joint List.

There are no Zionist Arab parties, nor will there be such. It is also to be hoped that fewer and fewer Arabs will vote for Jewish parties. There is nothing there for them, save humiliation. Their place is in the non-Zionist parties, hoping that all three cross the threshold. For that reason, and only for that reason, it is important that they get out and vote. Afterwards, it is to be hoped that their representatives will know how to repay the Zionist left for all its actions over the years, and make it clear that adding the Arabs to the coalition will require a radical change, in the Zionist camp first of all.

When the center and the left threaten the Arabs with Netanyahu and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Arabs must not take their threats to heart. We have seen the government of change with its criminal operations in the occupied territories, and we have seen it fighting Arab crime. This bloc has done so much bad to the Palestinian people and to Israel’s Arabs, that it has no right to warn of those who are worse.

QOSHE - Why Should Arab Citizens of Israel Vote? - Gideon Levy
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Why Should Arab Citizens of Israel Vote?

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27.10.2022

Why should Arab citizens of Israel participate in the elections? The state is not their state, nor is the anthem or the nation-state law, nor are the Knesset and Jewish parties, who flee from them as though from lepers. If they must participate in the elections anyway, it’s due to everyone’s long-term future between the river and the sea, but not to save the Zionist left from its own failure. It doesn’t deserve that.

The left and center remember their existence now just as they remembered the residents of the ma’abarot – the immigrant camps – in the 1950s. That’s nice. But the temerity of the bloc is not only in its belated recollection of the existence of Arab voters to save its own skin, but also in the way it threatens and preaches. Yair Lapid, a famous friend of the Palestinian people, of the Israeli Arabs in particular, and of the Zouabis especially, threatened them the other day in Nazareth. “If your citizens don’t get out and vote,” he warned, “they must understand that what has been given to you in the past year will be taken........

© Haaretz


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