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Israeli Arabs absent from anti-Netanyahu, COVID-19 crisis protests

Years of exclusion from the social and political arenas might explain the fact that almost no Arab citizens have been seen taking to the streets to protest this government and its prime minister.
Israelis protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, on July 21, 2020. - Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in January for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases. He denies all the charges and accuses the media and legal officials of a witch hunt. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus is taking its toll in Israel. The past few weeks have seen the country rocked with all sorts of protests over the dire economic situation that the virus has caused. Protesters, who cross sociopolitical lines, are accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of mishandling the crisis. Israelis of all stripes have been participating in Black Flag protests, as well as more particular protests by Israeli artists, social workers, the self-employed, and others.

The one group that is conspicuously absent from this festival of democracy is the Arab public. And it’s not because they would have to make the trek to far-off Tel Aviv or Jerusalem either. Anyone watching these protests will notice that they even avoid the Black Flag protests on Saturdays, although many of these take place at intersections not far from major Arab towns or villages. In other words, they are literally right across the street.

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