Thursday, December 15, 2005

Strange Bedfellows?

Here's a question for you:

Which of the following two things do you view as being worse for the Jewish State of Israel?

1) Israeli Arabs decide to flex their electoral and "democratic" muscles and vote for exclusively for Arab parties in the upcoming election?

or...

2) Israeli Arabs come out to vote in greater numbers than in past elections, yet, instead of voting for Arab parties, the close to a majority will vote for "Zionist" parties?

The Jerusalem Post reports that the 2nd scenario is likely to become a reality:
More Arabs will vote in the upcoming elections than the last one and almost half of them will vote for Zionist parties, according to experts and an opinion poll released Wednesday.

Dr. Elie Rekhess, an expert on Arab Israeli politics at the Dayan Center, told the audience at the conference on Arab Politics in Israel and the Forthcoming Knesset Elections that 48 percent of Arab voters will cast their ballots for Zionist parties and 51 percent will vote for Arab parties. In the 2003 elections only 30 percent voted for Zionist parties.

The poll showed 67% of Arab voters will go to the polls, an increase of 5% from the last elections and the Labor party will be the big winner. The united list of Hadash and MK Ahmed Tibi's TAL party will be the longest Arab list with almost 22% of the Arab vote, but Labor will get 33%. In the 2003 elections Labor got only 7.7% of the Arab vote.

The question that one must ask is if this is "good news for the Jews"?

True, it seems as if the number of MK's representing exclusively Arab parties may decrease, but at the same time, it shows that Israeli Arabs feel comfortable enough voting for Arab parties, where they believe they can garner enough influence to shape the policy and platform of the party - in this case, Labor. Furthermore, can one truly believe that the Labor party is a party that has the best interest of the Jewish People and State at heart when such a significant percentage of her voters are Israeli Arabs?

As I see the political map in Israel today, the central issue facing the Israeli voter in the upcoming elections is not one of security, the peace process or even the economy. The main issue in Israel today, even if it may go unspoken (and perhaps unseen) by many, is whether the State of Israel is going to exist as a Jewish State, or as a state like all others, based on western, liberal & progressive ideology and values.

In that sense, the Israeli Arabs can feel right at home in Labor, as both are interested in ensuring that Israel not exist as a Jewish State (although for the Arabs, that would mean doing away with Israel's Jewish majority, which is something that Labor is not ready to accept... yet), and they can likely accomplish this goal better from a mainstream "Zionist" party than from a fringe Arab one.

The State of Israel has always prided itself of being both a Jewish & Democratic state, the question that is relevant today is whether it can be both a Jewish & Zionist state?



2 Comments:

What does the last question mean? Are you suggesting that Jewishness and Zionism contradict? Are you recognising that Zionism and Religion do contradict, and therefore for you as a Religious Jew that means that Judaism and Zionism must contradict?

By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 15, 05:35:00 PM GMT+2  

Perhaps - at least Zionism as you understand it.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 05:59:00 PM GMT+2  

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