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Netanyahu Must Look Israeli Arab Society Straight in the Face, Rather Than Fleeing From It

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“Listen Abu Yair, incitement has a price,” Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh began an interview with Israeli media outlets Wednesday. Apart from the catchy Hebrew rhyme of what will surely be remembered as a key punch line of the September 2019 election, there’s also a direct cultural and political message for Benjamin Netanyahu and Yair, his eldest son.

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In Arab society and culture, the family’s collective identity is afforded respect and transcends individual identity. Parents are known by an honorific composed of “father” or “mother” and the eldest son’s first name. The eldest son is considered the father’s right-hand man, and together they are responsible for the personal safety and the social and economic well-being of the entire family. The eldest son, and all his siblings, are expected to surrender to the patriarchal hierarchy, to honor their father and to obey him unquestioningly.

Odeh’s use of the term Abu Yair seems aimed at implying that in the relationship between Netanyahu and his eldest son there is neither respect nor obedience, a situation that extracts from the prime minister a steep political price. Odeh is also implying that whereas in Arab society individual identity is subsumed into familial identity and collective interest override individual interest, in the Netanyahu family the situation is reversed: The personal interests of Benjamin and Yair Netanyahu surpass the interests of the Likud party and far surpass the interests of the Israeli........

© Haaretz