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“Line drawn” for Israeli Arabs and politicians

Following recent rock throwing attacks on by Israeli Arabs on Jews, and after last Thursday’s terror attack in Jerusalem in which Palestinian and Hamas flags were posted at the residence of the slain terrorist, Israeli Jewish politicians have been calling upon Arab politicians to “either choose our side or theirs (the enemy’s)”.

Right winged politicians, in particular Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu are calling upon Arab Knesset members to “decide which side they are really on” and either show support for Israeli soldiers or resign their parliamentary positions. “We simply cannot tolerate a ‘fifth column’ within this country, and therefore, all Israeli Arabs, especially politicians, must show their support to the army as well as their fellow citizens – that is a very basic requirement”.

These statements follow a serious of acts reminiscent of the intifada uprisings in both 1987 and 2000 with occurrences of stone throwing at vehicles and the near lynching of two Jerusalem traffic wardens in East Jerusalem last week. A number of Israeli Arabs, mostly youth, were arrested for stone throwing near their villages in northern Israel.

Such incidents of violence among Israel’s Arab population has made many Israeli’s wonder if they are harbingers of a third and even more violent intifada uprising. In addition, the thought that an Hezbollah “sleeper cell” might be present in East Jerusalem, and was called into action last Thursday, has many people on edge as well.

Actions of violent resistance on the part of Israel’s Arab community may also be connected with the community’s organized resistance against voluntary national service for young Israeli Arabs. An organization known as Baladna (our land) is campaigning against a country-wide national service program for Israeli Arabs on the grounds that such a program will eventually lead to compulsory military service. This is highly unlikely as other Arab groups such as the Bedouin and the Druze have many of their young men in the IDF, although on a voluntary basis. Objections by groups like Baladna, as well as by Arab Knesset members only hurts the Israeli Arab Community in the long run as young volunteers, who give a year or two of their lives towards assisting their own people can make a very positive difference in the quality of life in Arab towns and villages, and in the end, both the young volunteers and their communities can benefit.

Even though many Israeli Arabs, especially younger ones, tend to identify with the Palestinians, with whom many are related, most Israeli Arabs admit they are much better off under Israel sovereignty, and that they have many more opportunities and personal freedoms than their peers have in neighboring Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, not to mention those living in the Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

Taking all of this into account, perhaps those like Bibi Natanyahyu are right; and the time has come for Israeli Arabs to either join the party – or party alone.

2 Comments

  1. Houmous b’ful anyone?

  2. Arabs have a unique perception of the world and the way it works. But one thing they are not is stupid. These people realize that they are FAR better off under an IMPERFECT Israeli government with all its ups and downs. It would be nice if they would be able to convince their fellows that all the idiocies perpetrated against Israel will eventually come back and bite them big time.

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