September 29, 2019


Strong election showing revives old dilemma for Arab Israelis: Vowing to translate its gains at the polls to political influence, Joint List faces challenge of how to do so while remaining outside the government (JOSEPH KRAUSS and MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, 9/29/19, AP)

The potential for newfound influence has forced Arab citizens to confront a dilemma going back to Israel's founding: Working within the system might secure social gains for the marginalized community, but risks legitimizing a state that many feel relegates them to second-class status and oppresses their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"We truly want to support Gantz," said Abed Abed, a food wholesaler in the Arab town of Nazareth in northern Israel. "But at the same time we are Arabs, and the people in Gaza and the West Bank are our brothers. If Gantz goes to war in Gaza tomorrow, then we can't be part of it. So we're in big trouble."

Israel's Arab citizens make up 20% of the population of 9 million and are descended from Palestinians who remained in Israel following the 1948 war that surrounded its creation. They have citizenship and the right to vote, they speak Hebrew and attend Israeli universities, and have increased their presence in a wide array of professions, from medicine to tech startups.

But they still face widespread discrimination, particularly when it comes to housing, and accuse Israeli authorities of ignoring crime in their communities, contributing to soaring homicide rates. They also have close family ties to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and largely identify with the Palestinian cause.

Posted by at September 29, 2019 2:17 PM