Arab Islamists Show Influence in Golden Time Speech in Israel

Jerusalem (AP) — Israeli Arab Islamic Party leaders give a golden-time speech in Hebrew on Thursday, live broadcast by major television networks, and a stunning exhibition of the community’s newly discovered political influence. Called for the coexistence of Arabs and Jews.

The unified Arab list of Mansour Abbas won only four seats in last week’s parliamentary elections. But in Israel’s fragmented political system, his little party could decide whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will remain in office after his fourth uncertain election in two years. ..

The Israelis have been closely watching his meetings and official statements since the March 23 elections.

In a carefully watched speech on Thursday, he did not commit to either side. Instead, he presented a “vision of peace, mutual security, partnership, and tolerance” in search of a common foundation between Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and between Arabs and Jews.

“It’s time to listen to others, recognize the story, and look for something in common with us,” he speaks in fluent Hebrew against the backdrop of the green flag of the northern city of Nazareth. did.

The green color is often associated with Islam. The Abbas party represents a more practical faction of the Israeli Islamic movement inspired by the Pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood.

He also called for the end of violence based on ethnicity, religion or political views. He said he avoided supporting candidates for the next prime minister and focused on issues that plague the Arab community, such as violent crime and lack of opportunity.

“I don’t want to be part of the right or left block. I’m here as another block. Election me to serve the people and empowering them to present the demands of the Arab people It’s a broken block, “he said.

Arabs make up about 20% of Israel’s population of 9.3 million. Although they have citizenship, including the right to vote, they have long faced discrimination in housing and public services. They have close family ties with the occupied West Bank and Palestinians in Gaza, equating them primarily with Palestinian causes, and many Israeli Jews suspiciously see them. I will.

In the last election, in March 2020, an alliance of Arab political parties known as the Joint List, including the Abbas faction, won a record 15 seats. It failed, but tried to help expel Netanyahu, who has a history of incendiary rhetoric against the Arab minority.

This time, Abbas said he would break up with other Arab parties and accept partnerships with right-wing leaders, including Netanyahu, if he could secure the interests of the Arab community, such as increasing funding for law enforcement and infrastructure.

Netanyahu left the door open.But given the reliance on Netanyahu blocks, that can be difficult. Far-right parties, including openly racist factions.. The religious Zionist party has already ruled out sitting in government with Abbas.

Although Arab political parties have never requested or invited to sit in the Israeli government, Abbas factions or a reduced Joint List may provide external support to enable the formation of the government. There is.

In last week’s election, neither the Jewish party’s pro-Netanyahu block nor the anti-Netanyahu block won the majority of the seats in Knesset, which has 120 members in the Israeli parliament.

On Monday, the predominantly ceremonial president of the country will begin talks with 13 political parties elected to parliament, calling on each to recommend candidates to form a new coalition government.

At the end of the talks, President Reuven Rivlin will nominate the candidates he believes are most likely to bring together a majority of Congress.

This means that Abbas can play an important role in deciding who the next prime minister will be, or whether the country will enter into an unprecedented five consecutive campaigns.