Opinion |

Needed: A Joint Jewish-Arab List

All eyes are on Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Avi Gabby to rescue us from Israel's right with no contender committed to a peace plan. With Meretz and the Joint List on the downfall, it's time to form an effective Jewish-Arab list

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Members of the Joint List during a Knesset session in Jerusalem, December 1, 2018.
Members of the Joint List during a Knesset session in Jerusalem, December 1, 2018. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Here are the Three Musketeers, each of whom is for himself, but they are supposed to rescue us from the mire of the right.

The first is Benny Gantz, the mute knight. I doubt whether he opens his mouth even at the dentist’s office, but that didn’t prevent him from explaining, in the face of the attack from the right, that his wife doesn’t attend protests of the Machsom Watch movement. Oh well, we believe him. But why incite against those wonderful women; why stress that “she would never do anything that could cause even the slightest harm to Israel Defense Forces soldiers”? The women of Machsom Watch do only one sacred thing: They plead with the soldiers not to abuse the Palestinian population. They will receive the Nobel Peace Prize yet, and Gantz will be sorry that his wife is not among them.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 11Credit: Haaretz

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The second is Yair Lapid, who, except for his arrogance, functions as an echo, and only in the service of the right: Every declaration of Benjamin Netanyahu against Palestinians, the Arab citizens of Israel, human rights organizations, Lapid the echo amplifies several times over.

The third Musketeer is Avi Gabbay – the avenger. Instead of consolidating the ranks, he remembers on the eve of the election to put his house in order, and brutally ousts Tzipi Livni. And if Livni symbolized the political agenda of the Zionist Union, the avenger comes with a social agenda befitting a one-dimensional social organization, and in his spare time he was more extreme than Netanyahu when it came to the Arabs.

Therefore, journalist Gideon Levy said in an interview on 103FM radio that if the choice is between them and Netanyahu, he prefers Netanyahu. There’s a lot of good judgment in his words. After all, if these dignitaries were in Netanyahu’s place, for example during the recent events in Gaza, they would have set out for Armageddon in response to the cries for revenge from the hotheads here.

On the other side stands a clear-thinking man who says the right things, and when everyone is refusing to adopt the inevitable solution for ending the conflict, he is presenting a clear plan for ending the occupation – establishing a Palestinian state. Moreover, he does not represent a list that is preoccupied only with sectorial issues. In addition to the struggle for the equality of Israel’s Arab population, its agenda relates to Israeli society as a whole, to the weaker populations, to defense of democracy and human rights organizations, to progressive culture.

But that man, unfortunately, was born an Arab. And although he heads a Knesset list that is the last bastion of sanity in Israel, the Jewish left treats him and his Knesset faction as the last of the racists. For example, what are Merav Michaeli and Yossi Yonah doing in the Labor Party, under a man who speaks only of revenge (according to Labor MK Eitan Cabel, he said that if they don’t support him, he will destroy the house with all its inhabitants)? On the other hand, what are Yael German, and other sane people, doing in the echo party, which is empty of any intellectual content? And a similar question is also addressed to supporters of the mute knight.

And this: Why is Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg not joining the Joint List? Is she afraid that the enlightened souls will leave? They’re already leaving en masse. So before nobody is left to turn out the lights, Zandberg should hasten to bring about a change that will be registered in her name in the history books.

And the same question is addressed to Ayman Odeh. Your list is in turmoil for personal and party reasons. Isn’t it time to embark on a historic step, to form a Jewish-Arab list? What are you afraid of? That here and there parts of the camp will leave? After all, they’re already leaving, even if formally they’re still with you. Look at the situation of the Joint List today, everyone is singing his own mawwal. In the face of the benighted emptiness in the Israeli street, a joint Jewish-Arab list is the order of the day.

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