The military campaign in the Gaza Strip helped us better understand the reality we’re living within. The emerging trends of disloyalty among growing sectors of Israel’s Arab community are indeed frightening, and we must not repress them. The opposite is true. We should do everything in order to change them. A democracy must stand up for itself, and in this context the High Court’s ruling in respect to the Arab parties is a mistake we shall be paying a price for.
Every day we witness the growing radicalization of Arab community leaders wishing to undermine the pillars of the State of Israel, where they live and are granted rights. During a time of war against a cruel terror organization, whose declared objective is the State of Israel’s extermination, many citizens displayed blatant solidarity with the enemy. We are talking about acts bordering on offering assistance to the enemy during wartime, and as of now nothing has been done to address a problem that threatens to bring us down from within.
It will be wrong to think that all Israeli Arabs are traitors. There are loyal citizens out there who fully understand the immense advantages inherent in being an Israeli citizen, rather than a resident of Ramallah or Gaza. With these people we have a basis for the establishment of stable relations, yet the radicalization led by the likes of the Supreme Arab Monitoring Committee and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement jeopardize the delicate fabric of ties between us and the entire Arab community.
Today, more than ever, we must not ignore this severe problem. The State of Israel must reinforce those who wish to see coexistence, yet at the same time adopt an iron fist against those who call for its physical and spiritual destruction. For the time being, we see an absurd situation: Those who are not loyal to the State enjoy great confidence, while those representing the sane voice feel threatened. The kind of leniency shown by the court the other day will continue to encourage the radicals and marginalize the moderates, who for the time being are the majority.
Our supreme goal is to change this direction immediately. Those who are interested in coexistence must feel safe and be granted full rights, while those who do not sympathize with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state apparently do not belong with us here as citizens of the State.
Nobody’s forcing you to be Israeli
Members of the Arab Monitoring Committee complain that they are “forced to bear with their Israeli citizenship.” Well, nobody is forcing them to do so. Those who do not bear their Israeli citizenship wholeheartedly would do well to renounce it. Those who sympathize with the Hamas regime can try to live under its rule in Gaza. Those who danced on rooftops when Hizbullah fired missiles at northern Israel can try to live under Hizbullah rule. Israeli democracy does not need to respect those who wish to see it eliminated.
Loyalty is both a right and a duty. Every citizen must respect the Declaration of Independence and the State of Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. This must be the message conveyed to every citizen, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, or gender. The State of Israel must also make sure that loyalty pays off. This means that those who show absolute loyalty will be granted full equality, yet those who do not do it would not be able to enjoy full citizenship rights. The rule of thumb here is simple: Those who are less loyal would get less, and those who are more loyal would get more.
When we see rallies of solidarity with Hamas during war, when we hear mayors and Knesset members who are paid by the State congratulating Palestinian martyrs, and when we see Palestinian flags proudly hoisted in central Tel Aviv, we know the time has come to act. The time has come to convey a clear message to the next government: Without loyalty, one shall not be granted citizenship.
Singer Arik Sinai is contributing to Israel Beiteinu’s public relations effort