By DANIEL ESTRIN
03/24/2015 11:00 am EDT
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology for comments he made in last week's
national elections that offended members of the Arab community and said his
words made him unsuitable to return for a third consecutive term on the job.
The spat has touched on longstanding claims of discrimination by Israel's
Arab minority, which makes up 20 percent of the Jewish state, and signaled that
the rift will not be healed anytime soon. An Arab advocacy center in Israel
said the country's national elections brought an "unprecedented level of
racist incitement" against the minority community.
In the heat of a close race last week, Netanyahu posted a video on his
Facebook page where he implored his hard-line supporters to head to the polls,
saying that "left-wing organizations" were bussing Arabs to the polls
"in droves." The comments drew accusations of racism from Arab voters
and a White House rebuke.
Netanyahu told a gathering of Arab dignitaries Monday, "I know that what I
said a few days ago offended some of Israel's citizens, offended Israeli Arabs.
I had no intention of doing so. I am sorry for this."
But Arab politicians from the Joint List — a new coalition of mostly Arab
parties — said they were not invited to the gathering at the prime minister's
"Why didn't he call us? Why didn't he invite us?" said Ayman Odeh,
head of the Joint List.
There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu's Likud party.
Arab politicians said his election victory was illegitimate, claiming
Netanyahu won the vote by pandering to anti-Arab fears.
"We call on Netanyahu to return the mandate he received on the basis of
incitement and fear-mongering," the Joint List said in a statement.
Netanyahu has secured a majority of backers in the new parliament and is
expected to be formally tapped on Wednesday to form the next government.
Opinion polls conducted on the eve of elections showed Netanyahu's
conservative Likud party trailing behind his main challenger, the center-left
Zionist Union. His sudden turnaround victory came as Netanyahu made his remark
about Arab voters in the final hours of voting.
His comments on Arabs, along with a declaration that he would not allow the
establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch, have infuriated the White
House. And his attempts to backtrack on both positions have been greeted with
"We just don't know what to believe at this point," State
Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday.
The controversy comes amid the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli community's
newfound political might.
The Joint List made unprecedented gains in the March 17 election, earning
enough votes to make it the third-largest party in Israel's 120-seat
parliament. The Joint List said election results showed that more than 90
percent of Arab-Israeli voters supported the coalition in the elections.
Arab-Israeli politician Ahmed Tibi told Israel Radio Tuesday that
Netanyahu's attempt to defuse the dispute was "not an honest
Emilie Moatti, a spokeswoman for the Joint List, said the Arab dignitaries
who gathered at Netanyahu's home were all Likud supporters, with no Joint List
Yunis Meri, chair of the municipal council in the Arab-Israeli village of
Fureidis, and a Likud supporter, said he hugged the prime minister at the
"What he said before the elections, he put it behind him," Meri
He said his support for Likud has paid off for his village in the form of
easier access to government channels to advance local building projects.
"If you know them, you open the door and you get an answer. That is my
advantage," he said.
In the Arab village of Abu Ghosh, a symbol of coexistence with its famous
hummus restaurants packed with Jewish visitors, Arab residents were not
impressed by Netanyahu's kind words.
"His apology is a fake apology," said Baha Abdel Rahman, sitting
outside the restaurant he owns.
"We were hurt as Arabs," said resident Abdel Rahman Arab, flipping
through a Hebrew-language newspaper with the words "The Apology"
headlining the front page. "No one accepts the apology, unless he changes
from the inside...we are all equal citizens here."
In a Jerusalem outdoor vegetable market, Jerusalem resident Ami Mizrahi said
Arabs were responding ungraciously.
"After we heard the head of the Joint List not accepting the apology,
we see who we are dealing with. So it's a shame that he apologized,"
Adalah, a legal advocacy center for Arab-Israelis, said there has been a
series of attempts in recent years by Israeli politicians to delegitimize Arab
citizens. The outgoing government amended a law making it more difficult for
smaller parties to enter the parliament, Netanyahu's Likud party and another
hawkish party unsuccessfully filed motions to disqualify a firebrand Arab
politician from running in elections, and a wide range of parties made negative
statements about Arabs in their election campaigns, it said.
"Regardless of the debates that will unfold in the follow-up to this
election, it is clear that racism was the most victorious ballot," Adalah
real leader of the country who is loyal to country with is heart and soul deals
with traitors mercilessly like The Present President Obama is dealing with a
coward back stabber NAZI Bastard Zionist Netanyahu son of a Nazi swine spy's
It is surprising when
the entire nation reared these Israel’s Zionists with love hard-earned tax free
money together with it honey, milk and bread all along until even now would do
such a heinous un pardonable crime.
Now, how these kicked
out Israeli Zionists illegitimate are, can easily be visualized, cannot be even
imagined after these spying were caught. Even before these very son of swine’s
were caught supplying pentagon top secret documents to Israel and these son of swine’s
lobby group AIPAC got them free during G W BUSH the wanted criminal worse American
enemy of the country.
same knot and analyzed minutely as all those and this l fall under acts of treachery
with the nation.
Look at the fun the US
ex-Presidents slept over these heart-breaking events caught even before. Had
the back stabbers were hang nothing of the sort would ever happen? Even the American nation called these sons of
swine’s their best friend when the entire World Community of Nations call these
Israeli Zionists nothing but ominous animals like venomous snakes and pigs.
Moreover, Netanyahu is
a glaring example and the supporter is the old hag Peres. Because these
Zionists are worse than animals that stinks like skunks. Americans should and would and must have to
shun their love for the worst enemy of US Israel Zionists not the innocent saner
JEWS of the world those who even hate
the Zionists like Netanyahu.
Now, it has become
imperative to keep under watch both Mossad operatives and Netanyahu, Peres and
all Zionist lawmakers of USA case wise. Any leniency would be fatal for the