Skip to main content

Israeli Arabs resist Netanyahu's last-minute campaign

For Israeli Arabs, last-minute efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit their towns and villages just before the March 2 elections are simply a pointless insult.
Read in 

Campaigning will draw to a close this weekend, and no more poll results will be published (by law). Still, party activists will continue their efforts on the ground until the voting is over. Israel has probably never seen an election as intense as this one, with people fighting over every single vote. The most recent polls show that the roughly equal division of the electorate into two rival blocs will repeat itself in the March 2 election. In other words, the election will not be decided by which of the candidates has a bigger bloc behind him. As far as the Likud and the Blue and White party go, they are locked in a race over which will be the biggest party in the Knesset. Meanwhile, it is obvious to everyone that voter turnout in the Arab population will ultimately determine the value of each seat and the division of seats in the house.

The Arab Joint List claims that it can win as many as 16 seats this time around. They also believe that this will help keep Benjamin Netanyahu out of the prime minister’s office. Netanyahu seems to realize this, too, so he has avoided the mistake he made in the last two elections, when he failed to form a government. In this election he did not incite Jewish Israelis against Arab voters. His proposed “Camera Law” (to install cameras in polling stations) on the eve of the September 2019 election was supposedly intended to prevent voter fraud in Arab towns and villages. What actually happened as a result was that it spurred Arab citizens to take advantage of their right to vote. While they may not have voted en masse, voting rates were noticeably higher among the Arab public than they were in previous elections.

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.