If members of the Yamina parties and “ Tikva Khadasha '' really believed that they had formed a right-wing Zionist government, now it is time for them to get rid of these illusions. Up to a certain point, their left-wing and Arab partners were really ready to give up their principles in order to preserve the coalition, especially since the right-wing opposition parties went to great lengths to overthrow the government. But now the opposition is not as terrible as at the beginning, and the left, and especially the Arabs, are starting to fight for their true goals.
These changes are particularly illustrated by the fate of the citizenship law, also known as the law that prevents Palestinians from reuniting with relatives living in Israel.
In July, a temporary ban on such a reunification expired, but its new version, as edited by Aelet Shaked, did not pass. It is characteristic that the left and the RAAM voted for Shaked's proposal, while the Likud and the entire right-wing opposition – and ndash; against, although the bill was unambiguously right-wing. Those were the early days of the “ coalition of change '', and Bibi and his supporters still hoped to easily topple their rivals, and then pass all the laws he needed. As for the coalition, especially its left wing, it was so reluctant to give up its newly acquired power to steer that it agreed to vote for anything with its eyes closed. Perhaps Bennett could have even carried out the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza through the Knesset at that time, but it did not occur to him.
The adoption of the budget and the relatively successful start of government created euphoria in the ranks of the coalition. Its representatives stopped shuddering at every shout from the opposition bench, and the right-wing centrists who were part of it decided that the left and the Arabs would continue to obediently raise their hands “ for '' and “ against '' at the direction of the prime minister's office. This was a dangerous mistake. Not only Bennett and Lapid felt confident in their new role; Mansour Abbas also decided that it was time to have his say in politics, and in his native Arabic language.
It was in this language, and it doesn’t matter that not everyone understands it, that the Arab deputies in the Knesset discussed the electricity law, the adoption of which was their first major victory. It is about connecting illegal buildings to the electricity grid, most of which are located in the Arab and Bedouin sectors. The bill was submitted by a deputy from the RAAM, and the meeting was chaired by Mansur Abbas & ndash; in a word, everyone is among his own people and for his own people, so why bother switching to Hebrew?
The next in line is the law on citizenship. On January 9, it was approved by the inter-ministerial commission, but this is just a convention & ndash; the bill, as formulated by Shaked, is doomed. Both the Arab party and Meretz will block it if they do not achieve substantial amendments in favor of the Palestinians, which they warned about in advance.
It would be strange to expect something else. For the Arab faction, the influx of the Palestinian population into Israel is much more important than the electricity in the Bedouin settlements, as this is how they increase their electorate.
In parentheses, it should be noted that the Meretz politicians are probably also counting on the votes of the new Arab citizens. If so, they will be disappointed. As the authority of RAAM grows, the popularity of Meretz among the Arab population will decline. Indeed: why do the Arabs need a Jewish party that defends their interests without much success if they have their own representatives in parliament and government? In this perspective, Meretz may simply disappear or dissolve into the RAAM, and now, supporting the Arab deputies, he is simply digging his own grave.
It is interesting to consider the arguments of Mansour Abbas, who appeals to equality and democracy when discussing the law on citizenship. “Shaked is a minister not only of the Jewish, but of the entire population,” he proclaims. From the outside, such a statement seems fair, but in fact it is pure demagoguery. This is not about citizens, who should be equal in a democratic state, but about the right to citizenship. Israel & ndash; a Jewish state, and only Jews here have the right to citizenship, according to the Law of Return. When it comes to reuniting with non-Jewish family members living abroad, then even Sabra Israelis go through all the circles of bureaucratic hell before getting such permission, and this walk in agony does not always end in success.
It is naive to think that the head of the RAAM does not know this when he demands citizenship for the Palestinians according to the law, and not in individual humanitarian cases, as the Shaked law suggests. He just wants to equate Arabs with Jews, so that those born as Palestinians have their own Law of Return and the same rights to reside and citizenship in Israel. Someone will say that this is impossible, but just recently it seemed to us impossible for the presence of Arab non-Zionist parties in the government. Life does not stand still. Electricity in illegal buildings and Palestinian family reunification & ndash; only the first steps. And then & ndash; welcome to Israel, the state of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians, as represented by Mansur Abbas.
Posted by Ira Kogan