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New initiative in Israel for Jewish-Arab party

Center-left politicians and former Knesset members are advancing an initiative for a Jewish-Arab party.
An Arab Israeli woman holds a child casting her vote in a ballot box during the country's parliamentary elections at a polling station in the Arab city of Tamra in northern Israel on March 2, 2020. - Israelis were voting for a third time in 12 months today, with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking to end the country's political crisis and save his career. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

In three rounds of elections last year, Israel’s center-left bloc campaigned on the notion of dissociating itself with the country’s Arab citizens. In an effort to sway right-wing voters to switch allegiance to the center-left bloc, Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz, now the minister of defense, made a point of keeping a distance from the Arab population. These efforts were a resounding failure, which sometimes bordered on the absurd. At one point, Gantz would not even call them “Arab citizens, preferring to use the term “non-Jews” instead.

All this has changed. Today, we learned that several Jewish public figures, formerly aligned with the center-left bloc, have created a new group, Brit [Alliance], calling for the creation of a joint Jewish-Arab political party. Among the members of this group are former Minister of the Interior Ophir Pines, former Meretz Knesset member Mossi Raz, former Labor party Chairman Amram Mitzna and former Labor Knesset member Collette Avital.

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