Some Israeli Arab leaders speak disparagingly about Israel for publicity. They know that no newspaper would ever mention them if they were dealing with issues such as sewage or a shortage of classrooms in Arab schools. If they say something bad about Israel or provoke the Jews, however, they will certainly receive a headline in the press.
Israeli Arab leaders can incite against Israel as much as they wish. Their slander will not change the reality that Israel is the only thriving democracy in the Middle East, and treats its minorities with respect. While minorities are being persecuted and murdered in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and other Arab and Islamic countries, the Arab citizens of Israel are being integrated into the state. They hold high positions in the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry, the health sector and even the Israel Police. The majority of the Arabs in Israel can work anywhere they wish, they can travel anywhere in the country, and they will continue to enjoy all the privileges, benefits and freedoms that Jewish citizens do.
Some Israeli Arab leaders want Israel to give up its wish to be a Jewish homeland because they are hoping that one day Jews will become a minority in their own country. For far too long, they have been inciting their constituents against Israel and Jews. If these leaders are so unhappy in Israel, perhaps they would consider moving to Ramallah or the Gaza Strip or any Arab country. Perhaps they would care to resign from the Knesset. Why do they refrain from doing so? Because it is in the Jewish homeland, supposedly so harmful to them, that they and their children can live and thrive.
The hypocrisy of the leaders of the Arab citizens of Israel, who are now crying foul over the new Jewish Nation-State Law, has, in the past few days, reached new heights.
These are the same leaders whose words and actions for the past two decades have caused serious damage to relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and to the interests of their own constituents, the Arab citizens of Israel.
Israeli Arab leaders, specifically the Knesset members, say they are outraged not only because the law defines Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, but also because the new legislation does not include words about full equality of rights for all citizens.
If there ever was a tempest in a teapot, this is it. It would have been redundant to add those words: the new law does not rescind any previous law or Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which already encompass all that. In Israel, there are also other Basic Laws that guarantee equal rights to all. For example, the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, passed in 1992, stipulates:
“The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”
“Fundamental human rights in Israel are founded upon recognition of the value of the human being, the sanctity of human life, and the principle that all persons are free; these rights shall be upheld in the spirit of the principles set forth in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.”
Israel’s Declaration of Independence from 1948, which obviously is not affected by the new Jewish Nation-State Law, also promises equality to all citizens, irrespective of their religion or color or race. It states:
“The State of Israel will foster the development of the country for all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
So, as Israel’s pre-existing laws and its Declaration of Independence remain unchanged and guarantee equal rights to all citizens, what exactly is behind the Israeli Arab leaders’ fierce attack on the Nation-State Law? Is it really because they are worried about equality or is it something else? The answer can be found in their own statements: they are basically opposed to the idea of Israel being the homeland for the Jewish people. They know very well that the Nation-State Law does not affect the Arab citizens’ status and rights as equal citizens of Israel.
Take, for example, the case of Arab Member of Knesset Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union), who announced this week his intention to resign from parliament in protest over the Nation-State Law. He complained that the Knesset had become a “rubber stamp for racist legislation.”
First, Bahloul is the last Arab citizen of Israel who is entitled to complain about discrimination. For decades, he was one of Israel’s most popular sports journalists, revered by Arabs and Jews alike. As such, he has always enjoyed a comfortable life in Israel — one he could never have dreamed of experiencing in any Arab country.
Second, if Bahloul has a problem with a law that defines Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, what is he doing in a party called the Zionist Union? Once you agree to join a Zionist party, you cannot later complain when Israel says it wants to be the homeland of the Jewish people. Does anyone seriously believe that this Arab parliamentarian did not know all these years that Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel?
Zouheir Bahloul, an Arab Member of Knesset, is the last Arab citizen of Israel who is entitled to complain about discrimination. For
decades, he was one of Israel’s most popular sports journalists, revered by Arabs and Jews alike. He has always enjoyed a comfortable life in Israel — one he could never have dreamed of experiencing in any Arab country. (Photo: Knesset Spokesperson)
Third, it is also worth noting that his Zionist Union party was fed up with Bahloul anyhow, and planning to get rid of him, especially after his decision last year to boycott a Knesset ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Ironically, the second part of the Balfour Declaration stipulated that the establishment of a Jewish homeland must not “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
The current controversy over the Nation-State law, then, is not about equal rights. Instead, it is about accepting the existence of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Bahloul boycotted the Balfour Declaration ceremony in the Knesset apparently because he is opposed to the very idea of a Jewish homeland. Otherwise, why would any Arab living in Israel oppose a declaration that openly states that a Jewish homeland must not “prejudice” the rights of non-Jews?
Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay had criticized Bahloul’s decision as “extremist.”
Bahloul presumably knew he was going to be thrown out of his party, and seems to have decided to use the Nation-State Law as an excuse to quit, and to smear Israel by inaccurately calling it “a state with symptoms of apartheid,” and the Knesset a “rubber stamp for racist legislation.”
Fourth, note that Bahloul did not immediately submit his resignation from the Knesset. Instead, he said that he will submit his resignation letter when the Knesset returns from its extended summer recess in mid-October. In other words, Bahloul evidently wants to spend a few more months in the Knesset, probably so that he can continue receiving a fine salary and other privileges granted to members of parliament. By postponing his resignation, he is also most likely hoping that someone will come begging him to rescind his decision — as if he is saying, ‘Please hold me back from leaving the Knesset!’ Well, Mr. Bahloul, if you are so upset about the law and do not want to be part of the Israeli political system, why don’t you just get up and leave now? Why would you want to stay for a few more months in a parliament you accuse of being “racist” against Arabs?
The “dirty little secret” is that even if the words about equality for all citizens wereadded to the new law, Bahloul and some of his Arab colleagues in the Knesset would still have opposed it. They are simply vehemently opposed to the very idea of Israel being a Jewish state.
Some of them, such as Ahmed Tibi, have consistently called for the transformation of Israel from a “Jewish state” into a “state for all its citizens” or a “state of all its national (ethnic) groups.”
Another Arab Knesset member, Jamal Zahalka, recently mocked Jewish symbols and said, “I would rather die than sing the Israeli national anthem.” Many Arab Members of Knesset have never accepted Israel’s national anthem or its flag, which carries the symbol of the six-pointed Star of David. About the Israeli flag, Zahalka said, “Any flag for me is a rag. It’s a piece of cloth. It’s a lot worse than a rag.”
Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi was nothing if not straightforward in voicing her opposition to the definition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. The Jewish people do not have the right to self-determination, she said in October 2017.
“The Jews are not a nationality, so we cannot talk about self-determination for the Jewish people… The Israelis, they can have self-determination, but not as a Jewish State, within a secular democratic state.”
It is worth noting here that Zoabi, who hails from a large clan from Nazareth, was suspended from the Knesset in 2014 for incitement after she justified Hamas firing rockets at Israel and the abduction (and subsequent murder) of three Israeli teens by Palestinian terrorists.
It is the likes of Zoabi who have — and continue to — cause grave damage to relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Their vicious anti-Israel rhetoric and actions are the main reason why a growing number of Jews are beginning to look at the Arab citizens of Israel as if they were a “fifth column” or an “enemy from within.”
Some Israeli Arab leaders speak disparagingly about Israel for publicity. They know that no newspaper would ever mention them if they were dealing with issues such as sewage or a shortage of classrooms in Arab schools. However, if they say something bad about Israel or provoke the Jews, they will certainly receive a headline in the press.
The number one priority of Israel’s Arab citizens is lowering the high rate of unemployment among Arab university graduates. Israel’s Arab citizens want to be fully integrated into Israel. They are fighting for better government services, especially with regards to infrastructure in their towns and villages. But instead of representing the real interests of their constituents, Tibi, Zoabi, Zahalka and others spend their time condemning Israel and identifying with its enemies.
The actions and words of these Arab Knesset members have only served to deepen the rift between Jews and Arabs, at a time when serious efforts are being made by the Israeli government to improve the lives of Arab citizens. For instance, an Israeli parliamentary committee last April announced a decision to allocate 20 million shekels ($5.6 million) to a new program designed to increase the number of Israeli Arabs with jobs in the tech sector. The committee said that the Israeli government has already invested $1.2 billion out of the $4.2 billion allocated to the economic development of Arabs and other minorities as part of a 2015 cabinet decision.
The Arabs in Israel are equal citizens, and the rights they enjoy are far more than what they would enjoy in any other Middle Eastern country. In a poll published in 2016, 55% of Israel’s Arab citizens said they were proud to be Israeli citizens. Another poll, published in 2017, found that 60% of the Arab citizens of Israel have positive attitudes towards the state.
Israeli Arab leaders can incite against Israel as much as they wish. Their slander will not change the reality that Israel is the only thriving democracy in the Middle East, and treats its minorities with respect. While minorities are being persecuted and murdered in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and other Arab and Islamic countries, the Arab citizens of Israel are being integrated into the state. They hold high positions in the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry, the health sector and even the Israel Police.
The new law has not changed this reality; in fact, most Arab citizens do not even seem to be that bothered about the new law. The majority of the Arabs in Israel continue to wake up in the morning and get on with their lives. They can work anywhere they wish, they can travel anywhere in the country and they will continue to enjoy all the privileges, benefits and freedoms that Jewish citizens do.
Some of the leaders of Israel’s Arab citizens, however, have something very different in mind. They want Israelis to give up their wish for Israel to be a Jewish homeland, because they are hoping that one day Jews will become a minority in their own country. For far too long, these leaders have been inciting their constituents against Israel and Jews. If these leaders are so unhappy in Israel, perhaps they should consider moving to Ramallah or the Gaza Strip or any Arab country. Perhaps they would like to resign from the Knesset. Why do they refrain from doing so? Because it is in the Jewish homeland, supposedly so harmful to them, that they and their children can live and thrive.
Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab, is based in the Middle East.
The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.