Why an Arab Party Is the Real Winner of the Israeli Election

Nov. 29 2022

Although Mansour Abbas’s Islamic Ra’am party won only five seats in the new Knesset, Ofir Haivry argues that his victory is, in the long run, more significant even than Benjamin Netanyahu’s:

At first glance [Abbas’s] achievement could be overlooked: with 195,000 votes, Ra’am won five seats in the Knesset, the same number as the joint Ḥadash (Communists) and Ta’al (Arab Movement for Renewal) list, which together received 180,000 votes. Balad, [a third Arab party], didn’t pass the electoral threshold. . . . In other words, Ra’am received some 40 percent of the votes for Arab parties, and the remaining 60 percent were divided between the three other parties. The significance of the numbers is that Ra’am, by quite a margin, is the largest Arab party, and the only one that passed the electoral threshold on its own.

Its success comes in the wake of the move taken by Abbas after the 2021 elections—a move that was controversial in the Arab sector—when he declared his willingness to be a partner in a coalition with Zionist parties and held negotiations both with Netanyahu and the opposing camp. In the end, Abbas joined forces with the Bennett-Lapid coalition in the face of stern opposition within the Arab sector and even within his party.

The Arab electorate didn’t reject the move but rewarded him with its votes, which gave Ra’am the status of the largest Arab party and crowned Abbas as the leader of the sector. The results were not just a reward for a political maneuver. They also broke a 40-year veto that the Arab parties had imposed on any real cooperation with the Zionist parties.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli Election 2022, Israeli politics, Mansour Abbas

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror