Elections 2009 / Israeli Arab Politicians Fear Low Voter Turnout in Arab Sector

Higher voter turnout among Jewish Israelis adversely affects number of seats Arab parties wind up receiving.

The leaders of Israel's Arab parties voiced concern on Tuesday over expected low voter turnout among Israeli Arabs, offset by increased voter turnout among Jewish Israelis.

A special radio program, which was scheduled to air on the Nazareth based Radio A-Shams Tuesday afternoon, was to feature Arab politicians urging voters to cast their ballots.

Hadash activists took to the streets in Nazareth with megaphones, calling on the Arab public to go out and vote. Hadash issued a statement saying that the move aimed to "create an atmosphere of involvement in the elections within the city," and that they were planning to hold similar events in additional predominantly Arab cities across Israel.

Though the exact number of Israeli Arab voters thus far is unavailable, assessments indicate a large gap between the voter turnout in Jewish towns and in Arab towns.

Political sources in the Israeli Arab sector believe that voter turnout in Arab communities will rise toward the evening because many Israeli Arabs work on election day, unlike Jewish Israelis.

The previous election indicated that higher voter turnout among Jewish Israelis adversely affected the number of seats Arab parties eventually received. In order to compensate for the adverse affect of a one percent rise in Jewish Israeli turnout, the Arab parties must get four percent more votes, according to estimates.