Over 3,000 supporters attended the rally in Nazareth on Saturday, and protested what they defined as “the cruel campaign against Bishara and the Arab population in Israel”.
The rally was organized by all political Arab factions, and featured speakers such as Hadash chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh, Sheikh Raed Salah, MK Talab El-Sana, and Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Chairman Shawki Khatib.
"What is Bishara accused of? Collaborating with the enemy? Hizbullah isn't our enemy, the Israeli occupation is the enemy. Olmert, Diskin and Lieberman the immigrant will not succeed in removing us from our land," Hadash's Secretary-General Ayman Auda said.
Balad Faction Chairman Jamal Zahalka told Ynet ahead of the rally, “The attack is not only against Bishara, but against all Palestinians in Israel.
Rally in support of Bishara attracts thousands (Photo: AFP)
"Bishara and Balad will not be the only ones hurt by this attack against the Arab public; we are sure this attack will hurt other Arab leaders and parties to the point that they are prevented from running in elections.”
Balad Secretary-General Awad Abdel Fattah claimed that the Arab population in Israel had become the aggressor rather than the victim following the allegations made against Bishara.
“People are saying that we cooperate with the enemy, and soon they’ll say we’re directing tanks towards Tel Aviv. We are being portrayed as a danger,” Abdel Fattah said.
Sheikh Salah said that Israeli Arabs would never agree to leave the State of Israel.
“If the options before us are either to be kicked out or to die on this land – we will take the second option. We may be killed and jailed and we will not leave this land. At the end of the day, we will win,” Salah said.
MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) said that being part of the Palestinian people was a great honor for Israeli Arabs, not a crime.
“Our presence is proof that the Israeli establishment won’t succeed in dividing Arab organizations and parties, and Arab public leadership,” he said.