Jews who support Arab parties: We seek true equality
Balad, United Arab List-Ta'al boast small but loyal Jewish electorate,
which they hope to increase in upcoming elections. 'Balad's platform talks
of full civil equality and I believe this is the right track,' says one
Sharon Roffe-Ofir , YNET
02.04.09, 08:33 / Israel News
Although their electorate is predominately Arab, the Balad and United Arab
List-Ta'al parties also boast a loyal Jewish support base, which they are
hoping to expand in the upcoming elections.
Some 1,000 Israeli Jews voted for Balad in the previous elections, while
United Arab List-Ta'al won the support of several hundred Jewish voters.
Dr. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin, a history professor at Ben Gurion University,
plans to vote for Balad on February 10. "The ongoing incitement against
Balad stems from a fear of equality, which is why Azmi Bishara is being
persecuted," he stated.
"Find someone who seriously thinks that he spied for Hizbullah. Anyone
looking for a spy wouldn't have used Azmi Bishara," he added.
Raz-Karkotzkin said that the party hopes to see more Jews voting for Arab
parties in the upcoming elections. Balad held a campaign rally in Hebrew
last week, and plans to hold another one on Wednesday.
"The Jewish public's support for Balad is support for challenge," said
Raz-Karkotzkin. "Balad doesn't give me an identity and I don't vote in the
elections in order to secure self-identity. Balad's platform talks about
full civil equality – and in my opinion, as a historian that deals with
the history of the Jewish people - this is the right track to take.
"I feel compelled to identify with Balad's demand for a state of all its
citizens," he said.
Yehudit Ilani, who has been a Balad activist for several years now, told
Ynet: "We are brought up on certain values. We are repeatedly told that we
should live in a democratic-Jewish state, and it definitely isn't easy to
rebel, and stop to think what this actually means.
"It takes certain courage to realize that this thing called a
'democratic-Jewish state' just doesn't add up," Ilani explained.
According to Ilani, the number of Jewish activists in Balad has been
constantly growing over the years, as more and more people are exposed to
an alternative political discourse "and understand what goes on in our
SURPRISING SUPPORT IN WEST BANK SETTLEMENT
Meanwhile Hadash, an Arab-Jewish party, also hopes to enlarge its Jewish
constituency in the elections. MK Dov Khenin told Ynet that the he believed
Hadash could significantly bolster its support among Jewish voters,
especially young ones.
Interestingly, Hadash's ideas seem to appeal not only to members of the
"Tel Aviv bubble" or to Arabs. Hanan, 22, a resident of the Efrat
settlement said he was seriously considering voting for the party.
"Already in school I realized that I was more dovish, more socialist. I
studied the subject and came to understand that what I was taught and what
the majority of people around me believe in isn't necessarily the correct
"There are other ways to thinking about our reality and our history. It's
clear to me that a two-state solution must be established. I think very
highly of Khenin and Mohammad Barakeh – I believe they are the two most
serious MKs at the Knesset."
Daniel Edelson contributed to the report