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Crime, economy moving voters away from Joint Arab List after peace deals opposed

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Nazareth

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TheJ.ca will be providing exclusive reports on the Israeli election by our special correspondent, Rachel Avraham. Her stories about Azerbaijan and other topics in our newspaper have established her as a top-flight analyst and writer.

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Nazareth, as part of a new campaign to convince Israeli Arab citizens to vote for the ruling Likud Party: “If Jews and Arabs can dance in the streets of Dubai, they can dance together here in Israel.  A new age of brotherhood, prosperity and security starts today.” The question remains, how successful will the Likud be in convincing Israeli Arabs to vote for them?

In an exclusive interview, Likud MK Ayoob Kara, who is a member of the Druze minority, believes that Likud has a particularly good shot at being successful in this campaign: “I think the Joint Arab List are going to lose.  A lot of their support is going to the Zionist parties. There are a lot of Arabs joining the Knesset from Zionist parties,” she explained. 

“The Joint Arab List did not support the peace agreements. A lot of people did not like it for many of the Arabs from the Gulf States now like the Jews and are investing in them. The Arabs are feeling that it was a big mistake their parties did not support the peace agreements. The Arabs want to be part of the peace process and the State of Israel today.”

When Netanyahu visited Nazareth, it is true that around 50 people protested him in a demonstration hosted by the Joint Arab List. However, there were also many Arabs who welcomed Netanyahu’s visit, including Nazareth’s Mayor Ali Salem: “I promise you Mr. Prime Minister that we will support you.  We never had it as good as we have it now.”  He claimed that the Joint Arab List did nothing with its 15 Knesset seats for the good of the Arab Israeli public. 

In contrast, Netanyahu made peace with several Arab states, successfully increased the level of higher education among Israeli Arab women and has a campaign in place to vaccinate the entire Israeli Arab public for the coronavirus.  

Former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzchak Ben Gad concurred that support for the Likud is growing among the Arab Israeli public, adding that even Joint List MK Mansour Abbas went against everyone else in his party and is now willing to sit in a Netanyahu-led government: “He did not become a Zionist overnight, but he believes the welfare of the Arab population comes first and the one who can help is Netanyahu.  Netanyahu invested 15 billion NIS in the Arab sector. The others talk about helping the Arabs, but Netanyahu helps.”

“Everyone can see the crime in the Arab sector,” Dr. Ben Gad asserted. So far this year, three Israeli Arabs have been murdered and in 2020, 96 Israeli Arabs were murdered, as reported by the Times of Israel. Even the former mayor of Umm, Al Fahm, was seriously injured in a shooting incident. Haaretz reported that the crime rate in the Israeli Arab sector has risen 50% over the past five years, with the homicide rate seven times higher among Arabs than it is among Jews. 

According to the Israel Democracy Institute, 52 percent of the Israeli Arab community considers crime to be their most pressing issue, not the Palestinians or any other matter.  

“People are getting killed and are afraid to get out of their homes,” Dr. Ben Gad stressed. “They are killing women. The atmosphere in the Arab towns and villages is frightening. People are tired of this situation and want to change it.”

“They support their brethren in Judea and Samaria, but they feel that they cannot let this issue with the Palestinians delay their welfare. We have four Arab states making a diplomatic relationship with Israel, with Sudan to follow suit. The Middle East changed, and we must follow. Because of the Palestinians, the Israeli Arabs have remained far behind.”

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Prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar claimed that the Israeli Arab sector has been moving away from seeking to focus on the Palestinian issue since 2007, when the split between Fatah and Hamas made it virtually impossible to find any kind of resolution for that problem. 

He noted that these sentiments were only reinforced following the Arab Spring, when many Israeli Arabs came to understand that it was preferable to be part of Israel rather than the greater Arab world:

“In addition, the younger generation of Israeli Arabs studies in Israeli universities. They are actually much more willing to take an active role connected with the public affairs of their state, which is a good thing.”

“They feel that they can make a change by using their electoral power,” he added. “They are not willing to be dragged behind. They want to take an active part in the nation. They see themselves more and more as Israeli citizens, and less as people who belong to the Arab world. They see themselves as Israelis, yet not Jewish and not even Zionist, but still Israelis and they are less and less seeking to dismantle Israel.” 

Kedar concluded, “So now, the parties from all sides of the political arena are vying to fish voters from this part of the Arab sector.  I am not sure it will bring about the end of the Arab parties, but their constituency especially among the younger generation is becoming loyal to something else.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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