by Yishai Friedman
Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav
Read Part 1
“First of all, only Rightist governments have contributed to our town – and this can easily be checked. It was Shas people who made it possible to set up this café. The Left is mostly busy talking and being arrogant. I prefer Naftali Bennett, who encourages Arabs to work in Hi-tech, over all of the Leftist BS”
The coexistence that Abdul Abu-Ghosh speaks so much about seems in recent weeks like something distant, delusional. Even in his town, which is considered to be a popular place for Israelis to spend time in, one can sense the rift. The restaurants, which are usually full of diners from all parts of the country, are empty. In the café where we are meeting, an argument has begun over the question of whether the Jews are boycotting the town. While preparing a grape flavored water-pipe, Abdul Abu-Ghosh comes out with a statement defending Israelis: “Jews will never boycott this place”, he says, “but during tense periods people do not go out of their houses very much. It’s difficult to blame them”.
When one of the people in the café wishes aloud that the government would fall, Abu-Ghosh becomes very tense. “First of all, only rightist governments have contributed to our town – and this can easily be checked. It was Shas people who made it possible to set up this café. The Left is mostly busy talking and being arrogant. I prefer Naftali Bennett, who encourages Arabs to work in Hi-tech, over all of the Leftist BS”.
|Herzog Photograph: Miri Tsahi|
“The parties of the Right have only themselves to blame for the election results in the town”, says Abu-Ghosh. “They don’t come here, and they abandon the field. The parties that do have a presence in the town are brainwashing people; they incite them and get everyone riled up. They create an atmosphere. And this atmosphere has a significant role in the elections – certainly within the Arab sector, which works according to emotion. Around the elections, the feeling was that we had to get rid of Likud and the Jewish Home, because everything is bad here. There was hatred toward the Right. The folks who come here to smoke water pipes are all leftists, and the message they put in your head is that you, as an Arab, should feel inferior and miserable, because the Jewish Right hates you and because there are “price tag”* attacks all the time. Even if you are doing well, they keep digging and tell you: Wrong – it’s bad for you”.
This atmosphere is what made him become a dedicated activist for the Zionist Camp, or, as he defines it – an aggressive activist in the effort to overturn the Rightist regime. He posted things on the Abu-Ghosh Facebook page, organized conferences and brought people into Buji Herzog’s party. And then came the turning point. “At one point I felt that from the leftist activists’ point of view, I was like a cat that had to be stroked and told over and over that this entire country is acting against him. Actually, even from the beginning, the attempt to portray most Israelis as violent, fascistic Arab haters did not make sense to me. This is not the truth. They send you the message that ‘Bennett is the most racist politician in the country, and he wants to throw the Arabs into the sea’ – and in speaking like this, those guys from the Zionist Camp treat you terribly arrogantly. I got no thanks for what I did to mobilize the vote for them, no telephone call and no expression of gratitude. It felt as if I owed them something”.
After you became disappointed with the way the Zionist Camp treated you, why didn’t you switch your support to the Joint List?
“Are you serious? They cause the greatest damage to the Arab public”
Is it really that bad?
“If a Jew told me that he hates me, I would not blame him; I blame the Arab members of Knesset, who have caused this hatred. They work on hatred. They want the Israeli Arabs to feel humiliated, degraded. The more miserable he feels, the stronger they are. The hypocrisy of the Arab parties screams to high heaven: on one hand they complain about their rights being harmed and about inequality, and in the same breath they advocate bringing down the state.
Bringing down the state?
Absolutely. What is the right of return if not bringing down the state? I am familiar with the Jewish People’s historical and religious rights in the Land of Israel, and therefore I accept the view that there must be a Jewish majority here in Israel. And what do the Arab members of Knesset want? They want there to be an Arab majority here. This would destroy the state. So they slander the State of Israel wherever possible, especially in the Arab media. All of the harm to the Arab sector is caused by those who incite the Arab sector and cause hatred, instead of calming the situation. For example, MK Jamal Zahalka, the atheist, who suddenly discovers that the Temple Mount belongs to him. Why, he hates Sheikh Raad Salah. By the way, I respect Salah more than Zahalka. Don’t be confused, they both want to destroy the state, but the difference is that Salah says it expressly. He declares that he does not want to vote or be elected to the Knesset, and that we should act to establish an Islamic State. With him, it’s all on the table. The Arab MKs have the same goal of destroying the state, but they do it by using nice words about rights and equality”.
|Photo: Yigal Levi|
Do you agree with the mayor of Nazareth Ali Salam, who blamed the head of the Joint List Ayman Udeh for the fact that the Jewish public does not come to the city?
Ali Salam came out a winner, but he should have said more clearly: “I do not want inciters or people who support terror in my city. Why, if Udeh is not in Nazareth, he will go mess things up in Umm-el-Fahm or Haifa. Who wants their hatred anyway? I say this in the clearest way possible: the Joint List is directly responsible for the blood that is spilled here. I salute the mayor of Nazareth, who made Udeh and his Mks look like little zeroes”.
You don’t feel discriminated against compared to the Jewish citizens of the state?
“No. Really, in recent years the Arab sector has been receiving much more money than the settlers. They are investing in the Bedouin and the Arabs. The government pours in the money for the budgets”.
|Photo: Avishag Shear Yashuv|
And there is no more discrimination?
I have stopped talking about discrimination, I don’t need to say that I am disadvantaged and deprived and attack the Right all the time. The truth, the way I see it, is the opposite: the Arab sector receives plenty of money, and does not show loyalty. The talk about discrimination has its source in the Israeli Left, which uses it in order to harm the Right in the political war between the blocs. I see what is going on in the Middle East, and how the Left reacts to it. Their thought is that if only we give up the territories there will be peace – what planet do they live on?”
How would you vote if elections to the Knesset were held today?
I would choose either Bibi or Bennett”.
You prefer them over Herzog, Stav Shaffir and Zahav Galon?
“Yes. A thousand times more. The Left, which talks about two states for two peoples doesn’t want Arabs here. They incite the Arabs or the Ethiopians, if necessary, just to bring down the Right, to get them to say that everything is bad here”.
*price tag attacks –attacks on Arabs perpetrated by Jews to avenge attacks on Jews perpetrated by Arabs (some of which have been proven to have been staged by Arabs or leftists)
Part 3: Tibi or Bibi
Source: Makor Rishon, Nov. 13, 2015, Diokan section, issue 953 section, pg. 24-28
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