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Raz-Karkotzkin. Challenge for Jews
Raz-Karkotzkin. Challenge for Jews 
 
Khenin. More young voters Photo: Yaron Brener
Khenin. More young voters Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

 

Jews who support Arab parties: We seek true equality

Balad, United Arab List-Ta'al boast small but loyal Jewish electorate, which they hope to increase in upcoming elections. 'Balad's platform talks of full civil equality and I believe this is the right track,' says one supporter

Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Published: 02.04.09, 08:33 / Israel News

Although their electorate is predominately Arab, the Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al parties also boast a loyal Jewish support base, which they are hoping to expand in the upcoming elections.

 

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Some 1,000 Israeli Jews voted for Balad in the previous elections, while United Arab List-Ta'al won the support of several hundred Jewish voters.

 

Dr. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin, a history professor at Ben Gurion University, plans to vote for Balad on February 10. "The ongoing incitement against Balad stems from a fear of equality, which is why Azmi Bishara is being persecuted," he stated.

 

"Find someone who seriously thinks that he spied for Hizbullah. Anyone looking for a spy wouldn't have used Azmi Bishara," he added.

 

Raz-Karkotzkin said that the party hopes to see more Jews voting for Arab parties in the upcoming elections. Balad held a campaign rally in Hebrew last week, and plans to hold another one on Wednesday.

 

"The Jewish public's support for Balad is support for challenge," said Raz-Karkotzkin. "Balad doesn't give me an identity and I don't vote in the elections in order to secure self-identity. Balad's platform talks about full civil equality – and in my opinion, as a historian that deals with the history of the Jewish people - this is the right track to take.

 

"I feel compelled to identify with Balad's demand for a state of all its citizens," he said.

 

Yehudit Ilani, who has been a Balad activist for several years now, told Ynet: "We are brought up on certain values. We are repeatedly told that we should live in a democratic-Jewish state, and it definitely isn't easy to rebel, and stop to think what this actually means.

 

"It takes certain courage to realize that this thing called a 'democratic-Jewish state' just doesn't add up," Ilani explained.

 

According to Ilani, the number of Jewish activists in Balad has been constantly growing over the years, as more and more people are exposed to an alternative political discourse "and understand what goes on in our society."

 

Surprising support in West Bank settlement

Meanwhile Hadash, an Arab-Jewish party, also hopes to enlarge its Jewish constituency in the elections. MK Dov Khenin told Ynet that the he believed Hadash could significantly bolster its support among Jewish voters, especially young ones.

 

Interestingly, Hadash's ideas seem to appeal not only to members of the "Tel Aviv bubble" or to Arabs. Hanan, 22, a resident of the Efrat settlement said he was seriously considering voting for the party.

"Already in school I realized that I was more dovish, more socialist. I studied the subject and came to understand that what I was taught and what the majority of people around me believe in isn't necessarily the correct narrative.

 

"There are other ways to thinking about our reality and our history. It's clear to me that a two-state solution must be established. I think very highly of Khenin and Mohammad Barakeh – I believe they are the two most serious MKs at the Knesset."

 

Daniel Edelson contributed to the report

 

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