Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized. The extent of his sincerity is not important. The important question is why was his warning that the Arabs are moving in droves to the voting stations so efficient. The reason is that the Jews are afraid.
Aiman Uda, the head of the Joint Arab List, made estimable efforts to try to understand the source of this fear. In an interview, he said that the Holocaust syndrome was assimilated in the Israeli soul, and wondered for how long the citizens of the region's strongest state would be afraid of a weak minority.
I disagree with his interpretation. The source of this fear is not the heritage of Jewish suffering but the nature of the Arab societies. Their nature alarms us even more than their hatred towards us.
The Muslims are the majority population in a quarter of the world's countries. Forty-two of them have tyrannical regimes, and only five are ruled by a shaky democratic regimes. In almost all states with a Muslim Arab minority, this minority rebels against the regime, and almost all the states controlled by an Arab Muslim majority – apart from the rich Gulf emirates – are split and collapsing.
There is no common denominator between Pakistan and Morocco and between Saudi Arabia and Mauritania apart from the religion, so it's reasonable to assume that there is a strong link between the influence of Islam and their backwardness. The Muslim person is not inferior to any other person in his abilities, but that doesn’t apply to the Muslim societies. No one can explain the reason, so we will have to settle for the facts.
Of the 1.25 million Arabs in Israel, 92% are Muslim. They make up a fraction of a percentage of 350 million Arabs who dominate the area next to us, but in Israel they make up about one-fifth of the citizenry. Their political leaders have to understand that the challenge they are facing is convincing the Jews that Israel's Arab citizens have adopted a political culture which is different from the political culture dominating the states which surround us, and that they have departed from the characteristics affecting their ability to adapt to a developed democratic society.
I am not judging my fellowman's culture. I am only asserting that the Jews are afraid of the possibility that the state's citizens who define themselves as Arabs and Muslims are no different from the hundreds of millions of Muslims who slaughter each other as a way of settling political and theological disputes.
Among the Israeli Arabs' leaders, there are some who operate in an opposite direction. Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, has claimed that Jews mix Christians' blood in their matza flour and that Israel is plotting to erase the mosques on the Temple Mount and build the Third Temple instead. According to estimates, nearly one-fifth of the Arab population supports him. We cannot deny the fact that the Jews also have political leaders like Salah. They feed each other.
But there is hope. It originates in the fact that Israel has succeeded in doing what most of Israel's Arab citizens are finding it difficult to admit: It has allowed the national minority to sustain a vibrant opposition and even challenge the Zionist ideology which the state's establishment was based on.
Israel's Arabs are discriminated against, but they enjoy rights which no other minority in the Arab domain enjoys. This comparison angers the Arabs spokespeople, who argue that Israel's pretension of being a democratic state requires it to do so, and even improve its attitude towards the minority. They are right, but they are concealing the fact that their democratic instinct developed only because they were forced to live in the Jewish state and absorbed its values which were taken from the Western culture.
The Joint Arab List's test is the ability to digest this paradox. The Jewish society's test is to suspend the suspicion, shake itself free of generalizations and stick to the faith that a thriving society is only one which strictly protects the rights of all its citizens.