Photo: Getty Images
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Photo: Getty Images

Wonder Woman takes on Netanyahu in row over Israeli Arab rights

Gal Gadot, who plays the DC superhero on screen backs fellow actress Rotem Sela as she slams the PM for saying that Israel is nation state 'only of the Jewish people', calling her 'an inspiration for us all'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found himself on the wrong end of Wonder Woman's wrath Sunday when the Israeli actress who plays the comic book superhero backed his opponent in a row over the place of Arabs in the country.



Gal Gadot expressed support for fellow actress and model Rotem Sela, who slammed the prime minister for saying that Israel is the national state only of the Jewish people, and "not a state of all its citizens." Sela, Gadot said, was "an inspiration for us all."


Israeli actresses Rotem Sela, left, and Gal Gadot (Photos: AP, Dana Kopel) (Photos: Dana Kopel, AP)
Israeli actresses Rotem Sela, left, and Gal Gadot (Photos: AP, Dana Kopel)


"When the hell will someone in this government tell the public that Israel is a country of all its citizens," Sela wrote on Instagram, referring to Netanyahu's frequent talking point that his political rival, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, would form a government with Arab political parties.


Netanyahu responded by saying that Israel "is the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people." His remarks caused waves in Israel, but the prime minister again spoke of the issue at the start of Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, making similar comments.


He called Israel a "Jewish, democratic state" with equal rights, but "the nation-state not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people." 


“Love thy neighbor as thyself,” Gadot wrote in Hebrew on her own Instagram account in response. “It is not a matter of right or left, Jewish or Arab, religious or secular. It’s a matter of dialogue for peace, equality and tolerance for one another. It is our responsibility to plant hope and light for a better future for our children. Rotem, you are an inspiration for us all.”


Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)


In his comments on Instagram, the prime minister went on to say all citizens, including Arabs, had equal rights, but referred to the deeply controversial law passed last year declaring Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people.


"According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people -- and only it," he wrote in response to Sela.


"As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel. They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government," he said of his right-wing party.


Netanyahu has been accused of demonising Israeli Arabs, who make up some 17.5 percent of the population, ahead of the April 9 polls in a bid to boost right-wing turnout.


He has continually warned that his opponents will receive the support of Arab parties and that they will make significant concessions to the Palestinians.


Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz


Netanyahu, under threat of indictment for corruption, is facing a tough challenge from a centrist political alliance led by former military chief Gantz and his own former finance minister Yair Lapid.


The alliance's centrist positions and its security credentials -- it includes three former military chiefs of staff -- have helped it beat back Netanyahu's claims that its leaders are "weak" leftists.


Arab parties would be extremely unlikely to be part of any coalition government after elections.


Netanyahu leads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israel's history and says he wants a similar coalition after the upcoming polls.


פרסום ראשון: 03.11.19, 10:22
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