Political Realities in Israel
"Today, I'm asking Arabs to take part in our society in droves. I am proud of the role that Arabs play in Israel's success. I want you to play an even greater role ... Respecting minorities isn't just the right thing to do: it's critical to our progress."
"My vision is that young Arab boys and girls grow up knowing they can achieve anything in Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Ronen Zvulun)|
"If [Netanyahu] said this seven years ago, when he became prime minister again, you could say, here he's started with good intentions."Israel is a state like none other. It has absorbed tribal Arabs who remained while others fled when Israel was declared a Jewish state in 1948. Those Arab Palestinians who remained have become Israeli citizens, bestowing on them the full rights of citizenship and all that falls to them as a result. They are able to elect their own members of parliament in the Knesset to speak on their behalf, and Palestinian Arabs have reached elite rankings in the judiciary and elsewhere in Israeli government circles.
"But after seven years of incitement and delegitimization of the Arab population, how do you expect me to believe this person?"
Aymen Odeh, parliamentary member of Knesset
"This message clarifies what he's said to Arab citizens in a direct way:'This government is committed to the goal of a radical change in Arab Jewish relations and in the living conditions of the Arab community."
Ofir Gendelman, Arab-language spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu
There are always disagreements over whether full equality, legal, political and social is a reality in this country where Arabs and Jews, Druze and Kurds, Christians, Muslims, and Jews and Baha'i live together in a semblance of harmony. But there is constant incitement over access to the Temple Mount, the most sacred vestige of Judaism's faith in god, and the Muslims who regard it as the Noble Sanctuary, third holiest place in Islam which Muslims would like to see forbidden to Jews.
The Palestinian Authority incites its people to 'resistance' against the 'occupying forces' of the IDF, whose presence has been proven necessary to tamp down violence against Israeli Jews from Palestinian Arabs, both from without the State of Israel and from within. Provocations to violence are constant, and Palestinians who mount attacks against Jews are venerated, taught from childhood that this is their duty, to free all of 'Palestine' from the presence of Israel.
When, during the final days of the last election campaign, Mr. Netanyahu indulged in scare tactics to urge Israelis to vote him back into the Prime Ministership, Arabs were offended that he referred to them as a danger in the country. While many Palestinian Israelis are loyal citizens, others are clearly not. Among other issues that accompanied the assurance by the Prime Minister that Israeli Arabs are appreciated and valued as citizens, was the mention that he had received appeals from Arab citizens to increase police presence in Arab towns.
They have every right to the same type of security and protection as any other part of Israel populated by majority Jewish citizens. Law enforcement stepped up in those towns has a dual purpose, one of which is to uphold the law on possession of firearms, in towns that are known to authorities where some residents are in possession of such weapons, leading to a situation where tens of thousands of illegal firearms are in the hands of some Palestinian Israelis.
The cynicism expressed by Arab Israeli lawyer and politician Aymen Odeh, leader of the Hadash party, and head of the Joint List, a coalition of four Arab-dominated parties, handily overlooks the fact that some elected Arab-Israeli Knesset members actively agitate against the State they are supposed to serve, and find common cause with and reason to support Hamas, an acknowledged terrorist group ruling Gaza whose fundamental purpose is the destruction of the State of Israel.
Israel's parliament passed a law permitting a majority in the Knesset to dismiss any legislator expressing support for Israel's avowed enemies. Admittedly, those legislators have always been Arab Israelis, and so of necessity that law would target any such Knesset members who plan to ally themselves with Hamas; to do so is clearly treachery by those who have been democratically elected who plan to aid and abet a terrorist group in its intention to destroy a legitimate state.
Arab Israelis view with alarm a bill the government sponsored that would crack down on Arab towns where houses are illegally built, without permits. Since the government cracks down on Jewish settlers and others who build illegally, a double standard persists which clearly requires attention. "Nobody fools themselves and thinks that now the Arabs will be big Netanyahu fans", observed a former spokesman for the prime minister. "It's a right-wing coalition and a right-wing leader, and he has priorities that he was elected on."
Just like any other democracy.
And, as it happens, this is not the first time Mr. Netanyahu has apologized for that piece of Realpolitik. Back in March of last year he had made a similar apology, right after the election, for having stated: "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out."
He took that opportunity to clarify that Israel's 1.7-million Arab citizens had the right to vote and he had no quarrel with 20 percent of the Israeli population exercising their franchise as they should. It was, he said, outside interference from foreign governments whom he felt were funding leftist nongovernmental organizations that he was concerned with.
Something akin to the current mad dysfunction taking place during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections where the Democratic Party is all afire over allegations that Russian governmental interests are intervening hoping to influence the outcome of that election....?