Jewish-Arab Partnership instead of Hate

01/04/2019

We admit we were disappointed with the Central Elections Committee’s decision last week. The committee confirmed Itamar Ben-Gvir and Michael Ben-Ari, two followers of Rabbi Kahana can run in the elections. Kahanists believe in a theocratic Jewish state and wish to strip Arabs of any voting rights. On the same go, the committee disqualified the Arab Balad-Ra’am party as well as Ofer Kassif from the Hadash party from running, leaning on the false claim that they are a threat to the state of Israel.

We tried to do all we could to stop this from happening, but this time we lost. Not by coincidence, but, we believe – as a result of systematic incitement against Arabs, 20% of the population that Netanyahu and the right have practice for years now.

When the Central Elections Committee was in its session, we demonstrated outside the Knesset. Last week, more than 15,000 members of Zazim called for all party heads to disqualify the Kahanists and to work towards Jewish-Arab partnership in the Knesset and it was important to us to bring those voices to the Knesset on the day of the hearing. Unfortunately, our calls were not heard by the Yesh Atid party headed by Yair Lapid: They chose to side with the right wingers and voted to disqualify Balad-Ra’am and Ofer Kassif.

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We will continue to demand from all of the candidates in the upcoming national elections to stand as an alternative to the current right wing government and to any parties buying support from Kahanists to consolidate their reign. We believe that in order to fight the extreme right wing, our representatives must begin promoting a Jewish-Arab block in the Knesset as an alternative to the current coalition.

We are hopeful that as many times before, the decision of the Central Elections Committee will be overturned by the Supreme Court. But a lot of damage has already been done by the incitement and racism which the Supreme Court cannot fix alone. Therefore, it is us that must be the agents of hope for a better future.

We know our fight will not be over on election day, the 9th of April. We’ve seen years of delegitimization against Arab citizens of Israel nurturing the ground for laws such as the Nation-State Law and now encouraging Kahanists to run for the Knesset. To fight the extreme right wing, we will have to put in a lot of time and resources. We know we have our members’ back. Together, we won’t give up.

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