Skip to main content

Israeli politicians prefer chaos over Jewish-Arab partnership

Most Israeli Arabs aspire to integrate into the general society, but the country’s political leadership is engaged in a hate campaign against them.
Read in 

As of this writing (Nov. 19, noon Israel time), there is still a miniscule chance — some would say "threat" — that Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz could decide to form a minority government backed by most Knesset members of the Arab Joint List. However, Gantz is more likely to hand back the mandate he received from President Reuven Rivlin on Oct. 23 to form a government. Assuming that no Knesset member manages to cull 61 Knesset supporters for himself as prime minister within 21 days, Israelis will be dragged to the polls for the third time in less than a year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that even this bad option was preferable to a government based on Arab Knesset members. Israel’s current kingmaker, Yisrael Beitenu Chair Avigdor Liberman, went as far as to portray the 13 elected Arab Knesset members as a fifth column.

Recent opinion polls do not guarantee that a third round of elections would unravel the political tangle created by the two previous ones (in April and September 2019). On the other hand, a minority government — meaning one that does not enjoy a majority of 61 Knesset votes — with loose external support by some Arab parties could undermine public trust in the democratic system. However, that would pale in comparison with the damage wrought by the unprecedented incitement campaign being waged by the state’s leaders against its Arab minority. The message conveyed by a clear majority of Jewish Israelis to their Arab neighbors — from the far-right Yamina (Rightward) faction to the centrist Blue and White party — is that political chaos is preferable in their view to Jewish-Arab partnership.

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.