My Good Tidings for Election Day

Ahmad Tibi, head of Ta'al, at a campaign rally in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2019.
Meged Gozani

If David Ben-Gurion had foreseen 70 years ago that the day would come when the Arabs would be the ones to decide the fate of the country, he might have given up on this whole delightful business. But maybe he could see far into the future, and so when he said in 1948 that it was possible to tolerate Arabs being up to 15 percent of the country’s citizenry, he understood the soul of his people (and the soul of every people) – and he also understood that someone outside of his people would have to cool off the hotheads among his people.

Now, the 15 percent that has grown to 21 percent are wavering; why should they risk their health getting involved in this sick process? One side calls them terrorists and enemies, and those who are supposed to get their support to change the government give their approval to these defamations. So, similar to Peter in the New Testament, the Arabs’ potential allies are denying them – not three times but a thousand times, before the cock crows (on Election Day).

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And if we are already talking about the time of Jesus, it’s worth reminding those who are the pretenders to replace Benjamin Netanyahu of Christ’s famous saying: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” – while they are sawing off the branch they are sitting on.

Of course, mere mortals such as I are not blessed with the ability to see things in their broader perspective, or see beyond the anger and disappointment of the ungrateful behavior of the members of the Kahol Lavan slate.

Nonetheless, we will explain to the Arabs that if they fight against Netanyahu, they are first of all doing something good for themselves – before they are doing a favor for Kahol Lavan or the left. So Salman Masalha’s call for Arab voters to say “Good night, Blue and White” (April 2), which assumes that the Arabs are only doing a favor for others, is fundamentally wrong. The Arabs are first of all doing themselves a favor when they bring down the far right that harasses them. Along the way, when they link up with the sane, they are creating a better country, primarily for themselves.

So whoever votes is doing himself a favor, and this is how alliances are formed, because our fates are woven one with another, and when you want to punish your ally, you first of all punish yourself.

The problem is that the Arabs are “good” at punishing in the wrong place. They are punishing their children by not entering the Knesset, and in doing so they are helping out their enemies, who will conquer more Knesset seats. At the same time, they want to punish their children because of the disgusting actions that led to the disintegration of the Joint List, as if our Jewish brothers are not conducting a war to the death over every Knesset seat or portion of one.

Look at Avi Gabbay of Labor, who crudely and on live television threw Tzipi Livni out. Is anyone in the party thinking of punishing Labor for this behavior? And Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked left their party in the dead of night, leaving it with debts of tens of millions of shekels – is anyone there thinking of boycotting the election because of it?

Nonetheless, it is important to note that this election, despite the absurdities accompanying it, is slowly but surely creating a nation of citizens, in which an Arab citizen has an important role, and sometimes even decisive one in setting the direction in which the country will march.

The first who understood the importance of this was Netanyahu, and in the last election he saved his measure of poison against the Arabs for the last hours of the Election Day campaign – and he achieved the desired effect. This time, Netanyahu began his campaign with such incitement, but this weapon has not gotten him what he wanted this time, because you can’t cross the same river twice. The Israeli street, even the right-wingers, now see the Arabs as legitimate participants.

Even though my last name means “tidings” in Arabic, on the eve of this Election Day I will make do with just one tiding: The Arabs will go to the polls in droves using every means of transportation – by foot, too, for the sake of their health – and, alongside the good people among the Jews, they will bring down this government of evil.