The prime minister organized an emergency Likud gathering Sunday night, in which he accused Israel’s Arab citizens of supporting terror and wanting to destroy the State of Israel. We know how this kind of thing can end.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a bitter struggle to prevent his challenger from establishing a government with support from the Arab-led Joint List party, has again accused Arab party leaders of representing an existential threat to Israel. On Sunday night, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh responded by circulating a photo on social media of himself in pajamas, reading stories to his three doting kids. “At the end of a long day, I’ve got to put these existential threats to sleep!” he wrote, to viral delight.
While it is satisfying to see Odeh eviscerate Netanyahu with humor, the prime minister’s words pose grave danger in themselves.
Netanyahu’s frenzied anti-Arab diatribes are accelerating in pace and severity. In 2015 he warned that Arab citizens were voting “in droves.” Prior to the September election, his Facebook page stated that “Arab politicians want to destroy us all.” (Netanyahu said it was a campaign staffer’s mistake.)
On Sunday, Netanyahu held an “emergency” meeting of Likud members (the emergency was not a rain of rockets but the possibility of a minority coalition backed by the Joint List). There he thundered that the rival Blue and White party was negotiating with the Arab MKs, who, he insisted, “support terror organizations and want to destroy the state.”
Unable to locate evidence that the Joint List leadership, made up of longtime politicians and civil society activists, have either the inclination or the means to destroy Israel, he instead quoted Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran, who recently called for the destruction of Israel. These are execrable words, but they fail to turn the Ayatollah into an Arab politician in Israel.Read More