Photo: AP
Good for the Arabs?
Photo: AP

The Lieberman paradox

Lieberman may be good for the Arabs because he's likely to show his true colors

Avigdor Lieberman's inclusion in the government, may, contrary to popular thought, serve the Arab population in Israel.


Not because the man, who is incessantly heralding his declared hostility towards the Arab Israeli population is expected to change his spots, but rather because he is likely to show his true colors - a person who resorts to anti-Arab statements to manipulate and leverage the advancement of personal political gains.


Lieberman's aggressive "proposals" regarding Israeli Arabs intentionally exploit the Jewish majority's sentiments for preference of a Jewish State without Arab presence.


He conceals his racism in explanations about the imminent danger and instability facing the country, while at the same time unrestrainedly attacking Israeli Arabs. Lieberman proposes measures that would be deemed anti-democratic in any ordinary country.


Lieberman recognized a yearning on the part of the Jewish majority for use of massive force in resolving the issues at hand.


He knows that by using tough language and spreading radical proposals he is answering the psychological needs of the masses, while at the same time knowing that putting these proposals into practice would be disastrous not only for the Arab population but also for the very existence of the State of Israel.


In the test of reality, Lieberman is much weaker than his current outward appearance may suggest, but it is transparent as well. In addition, his inclusion in the government would force Israeli democracy to reveal its true colors, and would force it to face some difficult decisions.


Public debate

Lieberman's presence in the cabinet would put the question of Arab Israelis' status at the forefront of the Israeli public debate. Hopefully, such a debate would be taken advantage of by both sides, Jews and Arabs alike, and to decisions pertaining to all the questions raised by this relationship will be made - decisions that would call for long needed serious public and governmental debate.


Israeli Arabs will not able to live under control and mastery for much longer, while constantly being signaled that their existence under this rule is temporary and conditional and that there is no chance of their desire for equality ever materializing.


And all the while, complete, unconditional loyalty to the State is being demanded of them. The next generation will not be able to live in the same vague atmosphere Israeli Arabs live in today.


When such statements and announcements are made from within the cabinet and not from the opposition benches, they should be dealt with on a governmental, practical and ethical level.


The voice of the government will be sounded from Lieberman's mouth, and it will be the voice of Israeli society.


Lieberman's inclusion in the cabinet coincides with the memorial ceremonies held to mark the Kfar Qassem massacre. In both these events, the question of the Jewish majority's relationship with the Arab minority comes to light.


In both these events the Arab population is no doubt wondering whether Israel is headed towards appeasement and co-existence, or the continuation of alienation and discrimination.


Attorney Rada Jaber chairs the legal committee in the Triangle and is a member of the Tel Aviv District Bar


פרסום ראשון: 10.27.06, 08:40
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