Skip to main content

How Peres' funeral highlighted rift among Israeli Arabs

Despite a boycott of late President Shimon Peres' funeral by Arab Knesset members, several Arab-Israeli regional council heads and mayors paid a condolence visit to his family, to wide public approval.
Israel's President Shimon Peres attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in this January 28, 2010 file photo.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files  - RTSPRKZ

The decision by Knesset members of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties to boycott the funeral of former President Shimon Peres on Sept. 30 continues to stir deep emotions among Israel’s Arab citizens. Many see it as the latest in a string of moves by party members that is deepening the rupture between them and the country’s Jewish society.

In an unprecedented step, several heads of local Arab councils and municipalities decided to publicly oppose the Joint List’s legislators and say that their decision does not represent the views of Israel’s entire Arab population. During the seven-day Jewish mourning period, Mazen Ghnaim, the mayor of Sakhnin who also serves as the head of the local Arab councils, went to the Peres Center for Peace along with some 20 other colleagues from northern and southern Israel. They said they had come to express their condolences to the Peres family in the name of the Arab society they represent.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.