Skip to main content

Israeli-Arabs divided on Netanyahu’s electoral blitz

The visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Nazareth, with very little objection from local residents, reflected growing rejection within Israeli-Arabs of the Joint List party.

For years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done everything in his power to imprint in the public’s mind that Arab citizens of Israel must not be allowed to participate in the political game or determine the shape of Israel’s government. Things have certainly changed. Over the last few weeks, he has been touring Arab towns and villages, the very places that were not on his agenda as prime minister until as recently as a few weeks ago. And if those towns were on his agenda, it was usually to advance legislation detrimental to their residents (i.e., the Nationality Law, the Kamenitz Law or the Camera Law) or simply to incite against their residents. This offered him an opportunity to tell his own electorate that the future of his government was in danger because, Heaven help us, Arab voters might fulfill their democratic right to vote.

After starting his tour with a visit to the vaccination centers in the towns of Tira and Umm al-Fahm, Netanyahu paid a visit to the vaccination center in the country’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, Jan. 14. From there, he continued to City Hall for a meeting with Mayor Ali Salem. His visit was a celebratory occasion, with the mayor showering the prime minister with praise. On Jan. 17, the prime minister met with a delegation of Arab mayors and announced that “in the next few days" he would release a "huge program to fight violence and crime in the Arab sector, with significant funding backing it up.” 

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.