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Opinion Israeli Arabs - present-absent in the opposition Israel today


In the previous government, Abbas was an honorary member, and it seems that he was ready to join the current one as well • This will not happen for narrow political reasons and a desire to please the fringes and the extremes

In the demonstrations that have been taking place in recent weeks against the moves of the new government, the place of the Israeli Arabs, who are allegedly supposed, so the government's opponents claim, to be hurt more than others by these moves, has been left out.

After all, the loud statements of the government's spokesmen and its officials regarding the return of governance to the cities of Israel, the Negev and the Galilee, as well as the promises to take a hard hand against those who express identification with and support for the Palestinian struggle in Israel, are seen as potentially leading to tension and even conflict between the government and the Arab citizens.

For now, the prophecies of wrath have not come true.

The Arab street refuses to be moved by the government's moves and plans, and in any case does not take part in a protest against it.

It is possible that the silence originates from the fact that in the meantime nothing has changed, after all the election promises have not yet been fulfilled on the ground.

Apart from that, it is precisely the right-wing governments for generations, and especially in the last decade, that have promoted large-scale programs designed to improve the situation of the Arabs in Israel.

It is also possible that the formation of a right-wing government in Israel is actually a deterring and calming factor, contrary to the estimates that this government will inflame and stir up the spirits.

And in any case, what is clear is that the Arab street has very little sympathy for the left and center camps in Israel, and also for the High Court, by the way.

But in the indifference and indifference that the Arab citizens transmit in relation to the debate going on within Israeli society - there is something deep and disturbing, rooted in a continuous trend of alienation and detachment from choice from the state and its institutions, something that finds its expression, for example, in the decrease in the participation rate in the Knesset elections.

The alienation from the state and the sense of lack of belonging lead many Arab interlocutors, and certainly the Arab leadership, to claim that for them there is no real difference between the Bennett-Lapid government and the Netanyahu-Smotrich-Ben Gabir government - both Zionist governments, committed to the vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The term "present-absent" describes the legal, but also social and political reality of the days after the establishment of the state, when Arabs who lived within Israel lost their property following the War of Independence.

Since then, it seemed that the Arab population was becoming more and more integrated into the life of the state and society, and even tied itself to the state and its institutions.

But now the Arabs are back and retreating, this time on their own initiative and under the leadership of their leaders, to a renewed reality of "present-absent".

The Arab population is present because it lives in the country and holds a blue identity card, and is even integrated into the fabric of life and the labor market.

And at the same time, many of Israel's Arab citizens vote, led by their leaders, in the status of voluntary absentees, lacking a sense of identification and belonging, as if this is not really their country and as if the government of Israel - whether the Bennet Lapid government or the Netanyahu government - is a foreign government.

This is an unhealthy trend for the Arab population, because it deprives them of the ability to influence, change and advance their status.

On top of that, it has the potential to tarnish and turn a legitimate and just civil struggle for equality and rights into a tainted and dangerous struggle, of a national and religious nature, against the state.

Despite everything, the story of the integration of the Arabs in the country is mainly a success story.

Every morning, millions of Arab citizens get up to work, not to protest or fight, and they are impressively integrated into the fabric of Israeli life.

In the previous government, Mansur Abbas was an honorary member, and it seems that he was ready to join the current one as well.

This did not happen, nor will it happen, for the wrong reasons - narrow political tastes and a desire to please the fringes and the extremes.

But there is no need for leaders who do not always represent the interests of their constituents in order to reach the general Arab public.

Increasing the sense of commitment and identification with the state, as well as strengthening the presence of the state and its institutions in the Arab sector, while persistently fighting the trends of disengagement from the state and alienation from it, are achievable goals facing the government.

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Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2023-02-04

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