An Israeli Arab who keeps on voting for the “Jewish Knesset,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it recently, has to be either stupid or utterly naïve.
For 66 years, Israel’s Arabs have been playing the Jews’ “democracy game” like good little children, and what did they ever get from it? Not a thing. For 66 years, they have been the child who is supposed to be playing soccer with everybody in the neighborhood, but always ends up sitting on the sidelines watching the games, never, but never, chosen for a team, not even to stand in front of the goal for a few moments, not even when some Jewish child is injured or goes off to pee. That is because the Jews would rather stop playing completely than let some Arab stand in front of the goal, even for five minutes.
Over Israel’s 66 years, 33 governments have served, and there has never been a single Jewish party (including the non-Zionist ones), in one incarnation or other, that was not a partner in one of them. The only parties that have never been members of any Israeli government, not even once, not for five minutes, are the Arab or joint Arab-Jewish parties.
Even when the Zionist parties, which supposedly espouse equality and brotherhood and blah blah blah — from the United Workers’ Party in the past through all the various centrist-democratic-progressive parties to Meretz — were partners in the government, they never appointed any minister who was not a Jew according to Jewish religious law, heaven forbid.
Only once did Labor, when Amir Peretz was its chairman and Ehud Olmert was prime minister, appoint an Arab minister, Raleb Majadele, who was in office for just over two years. And that is all. It never happened again.
Since Israel was established, something like 600 ministers have served, for a total of some 1,500 years of cabinet duty. Of that, the Arabs, who comprise 20 percent of the citizenry, received a little more than two years. How much is that in percentages? Somewhat more than one-tenth of one percent.
So what are the Arabs voting for, if not to participate in government? Some will say they vote to make their voices heard in public. But are their voices really heard? Is anyone (Jewish) listening, or has anyone (Jewish) ever listened to them?
Obviously not. As far as the Jews are concerned, the whole purpose of the Arabs’ presence in the Knesset is for Jews to prove to themselves and the world that “look, you see, we have a democracy, and they can say whatever they wish. And now shut up and be grateful that you are alive, or else go to Syria.”
The time has come for our Arab brethren to stop playing along. They need to stop playing this game for the Jews, stop “participating” in a game where they are not included, and stop voting in the Jews’ make-believe democratic elections.
Instead, on election day, which is a national holiday, Israel’s Arabs can hold elections for their own parliament, which will have 30 members (if the Jewish 80 percent effectively controls all 120 Knesset members, then the Arab 20 percent should control 30), and for a leadership that they will choose and establish for themselves.
And then, if the Jewish effendis want to include the Arab serfs in something, whatever it may be, they will speak with their leadership and negotiate with it. And if they do not, then they will not. Just like now. Just like always.
One thing is certain: If the Arabs do not participate in the elections for Israel’s Knesset, their voices will be heard much more clearly than they are when they sit on the Knesset benches. They will be saying: Israel is no democracy. To believe it is to believe a lie.