Israeli Arabs, Be True Palestinian Patriots: Vote!

The more Arab citizens participate in Israeli elections, the greater their contribution to the Palestinian people’s struggle to achieve their rights.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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An Israeli Arab stands behind a voting booth at a polling station in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm.
An Israeli Arab stands behind a voting booth at a polling station in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm.Credit: Reuters
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

So that’s what happens to arrogant people, Yair Lapid – in the end, they find themselves tossed out without a drop of sympathy. That’s life. Do you know how much you humiliated the Arabs when you stood at your doorway and without even changing out of your sweaty gym clothes you said with such casual cunning that you would be crazy to form a coalition with the “Zoabis”? As if those “Zoabis” – the Arab MKs – were kissing your hands so you would include them in the coalition.

On the other hand, of all people, he couldn’t find anyone better to adopt as his “brother” than Naftali Bennett. As Lapid is licking his wounds after his embarrassing dismissal as finance minister, that same brother is running amok after the loot he left behind. Such brotherhood will yet be analyzed in schools. But to keep his promise of making sure Benjamin Netanyahu is not the next prime minister, Lapid will be forced to kiss not just the hands, but the feet of the Zoabis. Without them he’ll be left with his “bros,” the Ze’ev Elkins and the Naftalis.

Permit us some time to enjoy Lapid’s misfortune; so far no study has proven that schadenfreude is bad for your health. But after the rejoicing, we all pray that the Arab MKs and their allies on the left act nobly and do not disqualify the Lapids, because what is at stake is the fate of the two peoples in the State of Israel. That being the case, the head, not the heart, must rule.

The Arabs are the older brother, and won’t allow the younger brother, even if he’s stupid and doesn’t understand his own interests, to ruin the true basis for our existence: Without the Arabs, the country will go from bad to worse. From Naftali to Avigdor Lieberman. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” said Jesus. If the younger brother, still beholden to his past assumptions, would internalize his true interests, he would enter into a covenant with the Arabs, both to engage the Arab world and to form a barrier before the right and the insane right, which are leading the state of the Jews and the Arabs toward the abyss.

At this stage it can be assumed that even the founders of the state knew, in their time, that the Arabs would play a crucial role when they left some of them in the country. It’s also likely that if they had known then that only 50 percent of the Arabs would vote in the future, they would have doubled the number allowed to remain. It seems that deep inside, the founders knew it was the Arabs who would eventually save the Jews from themselves.

Right now, the most effective weapon the right has is to make its Arab citizens feel alienated from the state; to make them feel they don’t belong here; that they have no influence on the country’s path or the distribution of its resources. Unfortunately, the response of some Arabs is in keeping with their expectations; They are dancing to the tune of the racist right. That’s dangerous, primarily for the Arabs. Because if the Arab doesn’t fight for the image of the country, so that it can be his country and he won’t be merely a tenant here, the right will continue to triumph. This would be a fatal blow to the Arabs’ interests.

The Arabs must decide on the nature of their status in this country. Their decision is fateful, because it will determine how the future looks. If they would be partners in the formation of an Israeli peace government, they will be doing themselves a favor, first and foremost, but they would also benefit their Palestinian brethren. It’s precisely this approach that would infuriate Lieberman. How lovely!

So this is the paradox in which the Arabs find themselves. The more they become engaged in the life of the country and begin to walk the corridors of power within it, the more they participate in determining their fate via elections – the greater Palestinian patriots they are, for they are making a significant contribution to the Palestinian people’s struggle to achieve their rights. Indeed, strange are the ways of patriotism.

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