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Joint List frets as Netanyahu courts Arab voters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning for Arab-Israeli votes — and some analysts say he may well find the support he needs for reelection.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the anti-coronavirus vaccination facility in the northern Israeli Arab city of Nazareth on January 13, 2021. - A group of Arab Israelis demonstrated against Netanyahu's visit to the fascililty in their city. Since July, thousands of Israelis have rallied each week to protest against the prime minister and the economic fallout from the pandemic. (Photo by Gil ELIYAHU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GIL ELIYAHU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The photos from Nazareth of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing alongside Mayor Ali Salem as he courted Arab voters Jan. 13 document a key moment in the 2021 elections.

As usual, Netanyahu hogged the agenda. He arrived with the full trappings of his high office in Israel’s largest Arab city, accompanied by a long convoy of cars and dozens of Shin Bet security agents. The highly unusual visit was carefully scripted in the best marketing tradition. Netanyahu’s “Nazareth speech,” as he dubbed it himself, was designed to signal a new era in his relationship with Israel's 21% Arab minority and create momentum for his fourth reelection bid in less than two years. His lines were at once cynical and historic. The man who repeatedly incited against the Arab population, questioned their loyalty to the state and warned about their electoral power was now standing before them asking for their support.

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