Druze in Golan vote Lieberman out of 'protest'
Yisrael Beiteinu leader receives nearly half of votes in Druze villages Majdal Shams and Buqata. More than half of votes in Masad'e go to Shas. One Druze in northern Golan explains phenomenon: 'It is protest vote or support of parties with tough leadership'
Not Labor, Meretz, United Arab List-Ta'al or even Kadima. No, the Druze in the Golan voted overwhelmingly for Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas. In the recent elections, 50% of Majdal Shams voters cast their ballots for Yisrael Beiteinu. In neighboring town Masad'e, 53% of voters voted for Shas, and 38% for Yisrael Beiteinu. In Buqata, Lieberman's party received 48% of the votes, while Shas got 21%.
The Druze residents of the Golan Heights were not surprised by the support garnered by Eli Yishai's Shas and Lieberman's hard right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu, which ran under the platform "Without loyalty – no citizenship."
Salim Abu-Salah of Majdal Shams explained the voting mindset. "It is divided in a few directions. In some cases, voters issued a protest vote, in others, it was support for parties with tough leadership. Clearly some of the voters would like to go home to Syria, but I am not surprised by the result. Some of the residents cast a protest vote."
In regards to the Shas votes, Abu-Salah explained, "This is a party that greatly helps families with many children, a widespread phenomenon both among haredim and among the non-Jewish sector."
The big loser in the Druze villages was Kadima. Some 35% of Majdal Shams voters supported Kadima in 2006 compared to a mere 15% of voters casting their ballot for the party this time around. Kadima received 10% of the vote in Masad'e in 2006 and only 3% in the recent elections. Twenty percent of Buqata voters chose Kadima in 2006, compared to only 4% who voted for the party in 2009.
Youssef from Masad'e tendered his own explanation for why Golan Druze did not support the larger parties. "These parties come to power and only support the state of Tel Aviv. They don't care about the periphery, and certainly don't care about non-Jewish citizens. Clearly, the moment the opportunity arises, a prime minister will discuss the option of giving back the Golan. No one even talked about giving back Gush Katif until (Former Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon conceived the disengagement plan."