Rightist MK tries Knesset caucus effort to thwart Israeli Arabs
Arabs are not deprived, MK Eliyahu Gabbay insists, decrying their nationalist motives.
While the official name of the parliamentary alignment created Tuesday is the Legislative Caucus to Preserve the Jewish Identity of the State of Israel, it could more correctly termed the demographic caucus, or perhaps the caucus for the prevention of the proliferation of Arabs.
The pressure group was founded by MK Eliyahu Gabbay (National Union-National Religious Party), who until now was best known for opposing Gay Pride parades in Jerusalem.
By definition a legislative caucus concentrates the activity of more than a few MKs from more than a few parties, but Tuesday's event was a one-man show on the part of a man who is considered an outsider by his own party. While a few party colleagues did turn up, none stayed more than a few minutes.
Party colleague Aryeh Eldad took advantage of the opportunity to issue an announcement that - "the Israeli left, out of naivete, disingenuousness or stupidity, does not understand that it is indirectly aiding the enemy at home and abroad to destroy Israel. Israeli Arabs are the enemy of the Jewish state and should be treated as such," Eldad said.
Gabbay's action was motivated by the two recent terror attacks carried out by residents of East Jerusalem, who carry Israeli identity cards. "There are elements in the Arab population who are methodically working to infiltrate people into every community, to bring Arab families into kibbutzim, moshavim and communal villages, wherever they possibly can," Gabbay said.
"The problem of the deprivation of Israeli Arabs simply doesn't exist, because it is the Jews and not the Arabs who are deprived," Gabbay said, noting that Arabs receive state social benefits and claiming they can build homes illegally while Jews are prosecuted for even adding a balcony without a building permit.
Gabbay said that terrorists act out of nationalist motives only and are not driven to their actions by poverty and social distress. "One example is California, which once belonged to Mexico. There are poor and rich people there but still there's no Mexican terror in California," Gabbay said.
In the absence of MKs, representatives of various organizations presented their perspectives on the Arab problem. Erez Tadmor, of If You Will It, thinks the main problem is "the High Court of Justice, which is controlled by the left." He said that because the latter "views all attempts to preserve [Israel's] Jewish identity as racist," it is necessary to pass as many laws as possible restricting Israel's Arabs and containing stipulations obviating High Court intervention in these laws.
Arieh Stav, director of the Ariel Center for Policy Research, focused mainly on Arab MKs. "It is inconceivable for an unmistakable fifth column to run its parties in the parliament. We have parties that openly cooperate with the enemy," Stav said. He said that the main problem is not the Arabs but rather a mental problem - "the Jewish pathology."