'Arab MKs are bad for Arabs'

Arab professor says Arab MKs do not focus on making things better for Israeli Arabs, but merely engage in empty grandstanding.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Arab MKs
Arab MKs
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Muhammad al-Atawah, a member of the faculty of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University, spoke to Anat Davidov and Yinon Magal on Radio 103FM about an opinion piece herecently wrote about the Arab leadership in Israel.

"The Arab leadership in the Knesset is running away from internal activity and helping its public in favor of Palestinian-national issues, the Arab public is getting into this leadership, and the Arabs are acting according to a proven recipe for the preservation of the failures. Their unrealistic demands reinforce the false image on the right that the Arabs are the existential threat," al-Atawah stated.

Al-Atawah explained what led him to write the article: "The headline given to the article 'The Arab leaders in the Knesset must be replaced' does reflect the spirit of what I wrote. I never voted or will vote for the Arab parties. My point is that when you look at what is happening in the country, you understand that something here is not working. The Arab population is going from bad to worse, we see the rising violence and the fall in all areas of life under the existing leadership."

He explained that instead of the Arab leadership focusing on social problems, it turned to national issues: "The Arab leadership is running away to the national issue knowing that it can not change anything. This is the main problem. On the other hand, the Arab population was disappointed by the left-wing Zionist parties. The Labor Party has neglected this sector, and this is why they turn to the Arab parties, they have no alternative. The haredi leadership cares for its population and promotes the issues that are important to it. The Arab leadership, on the other hand, is incapable of advancing anything."

"There must be a leadership that sees itself as Israeli which will be part of the power mechanisms in the country," he added. "It must show itself as part of the general rule and thus it will be a bridge between the Palestinian people and the Israeli."

On the argument that there is no coalition that will agree to sit with the Arab leadership, he said, "No one wants to sit with them because of the things they have done in recent years. If this was a moderate, rational leadership that really wanted to advance the population for the sake of the state, it will join. The Arab MKs' approach is very problematic, and this is not how they behave toward the state and the public, and they do not promote interests in such a way, they simply harm the Arab population."