Deputy Speaker of Knesset Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) has come out with a strong response to an article by MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am Ta’al) accusing Israel of racism.
Amar not only defended Israel’s record of providing equal rights to all its citizens, but slammed Tibi and other Israeli Arab politicians, accusing them of hurting, not helping, Israel’s Arab minority.
“Perhaps more than anyone else, Tibi represents all that is wrong with parts of the Israeli Arab leadership,” Amar wrote in a post to Congress Blog.
“Rather than encourage integration among our community, the community of Arabic-speaking Israeli citizens, Tibi supports segregation, calling for the complete ostracism of any Israeli Arab who volunteers for national civilian service,” he continued.
Tibi does this, he added, because, “he knows his political future rests on the continued demonization of the State of Israel and its Jewish majority.”
Amar took Tibi and other Arab Members of Knesset to task for their visits to despotic Arab regimes, including previous warm ties with deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and shows of support for Syria’s Bashar Assad “even while the rest of the world stands aghast at his systematic butchery.”
Amar argued that his own story, and that of the Druze community, shows that “there is another way.” Druze Israelis are highly integrated in the IDF, he noted. In recent years, he said, “I initiated an overhaul, repair and modernization of the sewage and water systems and the electricity grids in predominantly Arab areas in the north of the country, long ignored by others.”
“This is what can happen if one chooses integration and contribution over ostracism and demonization,” he declared.
Israeli Arabs have more rights than Arabs elsewhere in the Middle East, he noted. “In our whole region consisting of over 350 million Arabs, there are only 1,658,000 Arabs who have complete political and religious freedom and have the right to vote in full democratic elections. It is no coincidence that all of these Arabs live as full and equal citizens in the one Jewish State.”
Amar concluded with a call to Israel’s Arab community. “What is our role as Arabic-speaking Israeli citizens?” he asked.
“Will we pick up the gauntlet and contribute and assist in the building of our country, as Kennedy encouraged, or will we, like Tibi, continue to malign it while preventing our community from the progress, development and integration it requires and deserves?
MK Ahmed Tibi is known for making inflammatory, anti-Israel remarks. He recently defended a violent attack on IDF soldiers as “legitimate” and “a form of self-defense,” and declared that Jews have no right to visit the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.