by Nael Zoabi
Arab MKs do not care to deal with the day-to-day issues facing their constituents.
The most basic version of leadership should include three integral components: morality, responsibility and personal example. These three traits are essential for people who decide to lead and to mold change. A leader should be a role model and a source of inspiration. A leader should help his or her constituency accomplish its goals, and should improve the lives of others and promote majority interests, rather than just his or her own.
Unfortunately, these qualities are currently missing from the conduct of some Joint Arab List MKs.
Time and time again, the voters who elected these representatives to the Knesset ask: What are we getting from Arab leaders in the Knesset -- an effort to deepen, rather than bridge, societal rifts? In contrast with voter expectations, the reality is a leadership that works to promote provocation and irresponsible criticism, leading to wider gaps between Arabs and Jews in the State of Israel. On paper, these leaders make an effort to demonstrate intellectualism, but in practice, their agenda is not beneficial for Arab society. Their statements may be polished and carefully drafted, but they revolve around outdated cliches, protest flotillas (or "aid" flotillas, as they call them) with heavy press coverage, and of course, the constant preoccupation with the Palestinian issue.
This preoccupation with Palestinian society has become the focus for MKs representing the Israeli Arab community. One could say it has even become an obsession. These MKs were elected by hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs seeking leaders who would improve their lives within Israel. In my humble opinion, the Palestinians already have a broad leadership -- perhaps even too broad -- consisting of two governments.
So no, these leaders are not doing a thing to contribute to a solution. Our Arab leadership has no time and does not care to deal with the day-to-day issues facing the people who are simply trying to make it through each month and find relief from their economic troubles in Israel. Who will deal with our real issues? Who will treat us like human beings, rather than make us the hostages of provocation and hatred? We want to live as equal citizens and to promote coexistence between Jews and Arabs. We want to live in peace, not in constant war, with our Jewish neighbors. So who will treat me as a person, a friend, a school principal who wants first and foremost to uproot war, strife and hatred and to condemn murderers and terrorists, regardless of their identity?
Terrorism in terrorism. There is no justification for harming innocent people. There just isn't. My voice is the voice of the silent majority of Israeli Arabs. Unfortunately, their voices have been taken from them again and again, and we are all dependent upon the foolish leadership of the Arab public representatives in the Israeli Knesset.
Where do these Knesset members want to take us? I really don't know, nor do I think they do. Of one thing I am sure: The Balad MKs' visit with Palestinian terrorists' families sends a clear message to our children, to our youth and to us all that these leaders are seeking to perpetuate the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and to deepen the cracks between Jews and Arabs in Israeli society.
I am ashamed of their behavior.
Nael Zoabi is a public figure and state school principal in the village of Tamra, in the Gilboa Regional Council.
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