Photo: Niv Calderon
MK Ahmad Tibi
Photo: Niv Calderon
Photo: Amit Magal
Continuing with Hadash party MK Mohammad Barakeh
Photo: Amit Magal

Tibi: Israel should not be a Jewish state

In interview with Ynet, Israeli-Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi says he believes Israel should not be a Jewish nation-state due to its 'Palestinian minority'

Full citizenship in a state for all its nationalities, states Knesset member Ahmad Tibi's new party slogan.


Tibi, who heads the Ta'al party list, will elect its candidates next week. The party is also expected to continue cooperation with the Hadash party.


Hundreds of posters have been put up to campaign for the Ta'al party list in Arab towns and villages, calling for equality for Arab citizens, with an emphasis on branding Israeli Arabs as Palestinians.


Tibi says the slogan is not directed against Israel.


"This has always been my political stance, and I also presented it during the current Knesset. We call on Israel to recognize and institutionalize the fact that it is a multi-cultural country and that we are a national minority. We should be recognized as such," he says. 


Is this an additional stage in your opposition to Israel as a Jewish state, or a radicalization that has occurred during the elections?


"It's neither. I don't see how this is radical. This has always been our stance, and I can't be accused of being extreme simply by presenting it. We are saying that there is a natural and logical opposition between Israel as the state of the Jewish nation while more than one nation lives in Israel and more than one culture exists here."


"Israel has never been a nation-state. Israel is not only a state for the Jews and it can't say it is the state of one nation while being a democracy at the same time, when other nations live in it but are not counted."


Why bring up the issue of national minority now?


"Because being a national minority means partial justice, and we should get our part as a collective, not only individually. Our rights as a national group should be given to us, not just as private citizens. Therefore the focus is not only on the identity, but also on equality of rights."


You are again bringing up diplomatic issues and the Palestinian question, and you are not paying attention to the things that matter to Arab citizens of the State.


"The opposite is true and our slogan speaks for itself. We are talking about full citizenship and full civil participation, this means equality in all the services and sectors of life in this country. It also means there are special services and rights that must be awarded to the national minority, such as the Palestinian minority which is us - the Arab citizens of Israel."


There is an impassioned tone in your comments. Doesn't Sharon's condition obligate your campaign to be more calm and less impassioned?


"I find it funny that we are talked about in connection with this impassioned tone. We are the main victim of impassioned tones and disinformation, there is nothing in our campaign and slogans which is overzealous and with all respect, the prime minister's health condition won't cause me to change my opinions or my stances."


"I just hope that the prime minister's condition is not exploited for an attack by his party and by the Zionist parties on the Arab public, which they see only as source of votes to be squeezed in the upcoming period."


פרסום ראשון: 01.16.06, 00:17
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