Why I Sympathize With Israel's Arabs

So, they don't exactly enjoy paying federal taxes.

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Isaac Kohn,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
In preparation for the annual "Land Day" demonstrations, Arab Ra'am-Ta'al party Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi raged against the 'injustices' visited upon the Israeli-Arab sector: "The Israeli society is racist and all of the governments have always demeaned our needs and wouldn't recognize us as a minority in need of services...." Tibi accused Israel of insensitivity and discrimination against the Arab populace by treating them as enemies of the state. Outrageous, indeed!

Yet, I fully agree. Wow. Before you rip this article to shreds and burn me at the stake,
Tibi accused Israel of insensitivity and discrimination....
please read and understand. I'll accept my due punishment if this article proves that I'm wrong in sympathizing with MK Tibi's assertions.

(A great part of what follows is a translation and adaptation of an e-mail sent to me, without naming the author, permitting anyone to forward it. It will serve to clarify the truth of what Mr. Tibi had to say.)

The truth is that Israel's Arabs are truly "unfortunate" and the treatment they receive at the hands of the State of Israel is abhorrent. As an example, though they constitute approximately only 20% of the population, they receive 50% of the benefits granted by the National Insurance Institute. Now, how is that for discrimination? In addition, their lot is so "miserable" that taxes exacted from that sector is nothing more than a silly joke. The State gets practically nothing of the taxes that are required to be paid. And the statistical numbers are available to all who are interested in verifying this truth.

OK, so they don't exactly enjoy paying federal taxes. Who does? But they hardly bother to send in the taxes their own municipalities need in order to allow the municipal government minimal functionality. And then, they turn around and demand that the national government fill in the vacuum created in the municipalities' coffers.

Israeli Arabs are so "deprived" that every municipal office is flooded with the entire tribe as employees; yet, every two minutes they demand and receive additional governmental grants so that the municipal governments will not collapse due to lack of funds. And heaven forbid if such demands for additional monies are not forthcoming forthwith - that proves Israel's racist attitude to its Arab citizens.

They are so discriminated against that every one of them lives in villas and multi-faceted duplexes built without permits, against the law and with absolutely no planning. There are thousands of illegally built structures in the Arab sector. And don't give me a sob story of the lack of official planning boards, because they don't ever bother with such silliness as proper planning for streets, sewers and lighting. After all, it's the local Arab municipal planning board that is responsible for the proper layout and building permits. By not exerting their responsibilities and influence in demanding that such plans and designs are approved by the boards, the Arab cities end up looking like Lego structures built haphazardly by little children.

But it is so much easier to build by contravening Israeli law, because, after all, contrary to what we see being done in Jewish sectors, no one will dare destroy an Arab house. Whereas, if I dare so much as to erect a column in my back yard or close a porch without permit, I will immediately be brought in front of a judge. Not only will the judge hand down a stiff fine, but I will also be required to pay for the ordered destruction of the illegally closed porch and all court expenses. Discriminated against, aren't they?

The Arab dwellers of Sakhnin are complaining of "land confiscations;" yet, they forget that 20.000 people live on 8,000 acres in Sakhnin, while in Ramat-Gan, for example, 150,000 people live in an area of 12,000 acres, one fourth of which are gardens and parks.

I envy these "poor, miserable, wretched" Arab citizens of Israel. I really do. Especially when I pass through Wadi Ara and see on what enormous stretches of lands such Arab towns as Umm Al-Fahm or Musmus sit. I feel sorry for them.

The Arabs in Israel are so oppressed, poor souls, that only in Israel do they have the opportunity to participate in real, democratic, free elections where they can vote for anyone they wish or be elected without being threatened or intimidated. (As an aside, I surfed the Internet to find out how many Jews are allowed to vote in how many Arab states. I also looked for the elected Jews in those states. It's been two weeks now and I'm still surfing and looking.) And only in Israel can they enjoy the full privileges of freedom and liberty from unlawful arrest and prosecution - almost like they enjoy in Egypt or Syria or Saudi Arabia.

Tibi said that Israel considers the Israeli Arabs to be "enemies"? The only country where an Arab can demonstrate freely without being shot in the head is Israel. And let's not make a mistake, what happened in the Galilee in 2000 was not a "demonstration," but active participation of Israel's Arabs in giving comfort and assistance to an enemy who had just launched a war against Israel. In every other normal country, a sector that tried to destroy the rest of the population would have seen 13,000 dead rioters, not 13.

Enemies of the state? They are unfortunately so "miserable" that they are permitted to
Not even one Israeli-Arab family separated by war reunites in Jordan or Egypt or the PA.
openly identify and declare their solidarity with Israel's worst enemies - the Hizbullah, Iran, Syria and the other murdering hoodlums. There isn't a person in the state who would stand up and demand minimal Arab loyalty to "their country." But then, the Arabs don't actually consider Israel "their country," do they?

It's interesting that they are so discriminated against and prosecuted that you will never see even one Israeli-Arab family separated by war reuniting in Jordan or Egypt or the Palestinian Authority territories. All of these family reunifications are done in Israel. Why? Isn't it kind of interesting that Arabs find the racist state of Israel to be the only state ideal enough for such reunification? And how amazingly ironic it is that not even one Arab from amongst all the Israeli Arabs who are so "discriminated against" has any desire to move out of Israel and go to live in the PA-controlled territories.

What is wrong with you, Ahmed? Those are your people, darn it. Your language, your religion, your customs, your beloved flags and your way of life. Why don't you move to the PA and enjoy the company of your fellow Arabs? Why do you stay in this discriminatory state of Israel? They are not even willing to have the separation wall built in such a manner which will leave their cities and towns outside of Israel's perimeter. Why?

Take a close look at the population of Umm Al-Fahm - rabid supporters of the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Islamic Movement led by Raad Salah. They support his agenda to the last drop of their neighbor's blood, but are not even willing to listen to the possibility that the separation wall will pass them by and leave them to be annexed to the PA. They consider themselves "Palestinians," not Israeli Arabs, don't they? So, why in blue blazes do they want to remain in racist Israel? What exactly is going on here?