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Elections Surprise: Arab Support for Jewish Home

The Jewish Home party finds allies in Bedouin and Druze communities, takes votes from Labor.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/16/2013, 3:14 PM

Bennett meets with Druze leaders
Bennett meets with Druze leaders
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party has found support in new places, with activists finding a positive response in Bedouin and Druze communities in the Galilee.

Activists Aryeh Yitzchaki and Khaled Fares held a Jewish Home rally Tuesday in Nahariya aimed at reaching out to the many Druze, Muslim and Christian Israelis who have joined the party over the past three weeks.

It was attended by dozens of representatives from Rami, Maher, Peki'in, Jat, Yarka, Sakhnin and other Israeli Arab and Druze towns. Most of the newest party members served in the IDF and security forces or in civilian national service.

Many of the Druze votes pouring in for the Jewish Home are believed to be coming at the expense of the Leftist Labor party and Atzma'ut (Independence).

Yitzchaki and fellow speaker Aryeh Peled shared their experiences of cooperation between Jews and Israeli minorities in the IDF, and said the Jewish Home party supports “affirmative action” aimed at improving minority representation in fields such as education.

Party head Naftali Bennett has stated that he believes it is vital for the party to work with Bedouin and Druze communities, which often fight side by side with Jewish Israelis. Bennett spoke at Tuesday’s event and noted that a Druze commander had once saved his life by warning him of a land mine.

The Jewish Home party is an open home to any Israeli citizen who loves his or her country and is willing to perform national service, whether military or civilian, Bennett declared. The party sees integration as a real value, and will not make promises just to disappear after the elections as other parties have, he pledged.