Riots in Wadi Ara
Riots in Wadi Ara Flash 90

Israelis are evenly divided on the recent call by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) to boycott establishments operated by Israeli Arabs from the Wadi Ara region, following the outbreak of violent riots and stone-throwing attacks in the area earlier this month.

"I call on all Israeli citizens not to enter their shops. Don't buy anything from them," declared Liberman. "We need to give them the feeling that they are not wanted."

"Those who saw these riots and violence and the near-lynch of a journalist understand that these people have nothing to look for in the State of Israel, they must be part of the Palestinian Authority. Let them receive unemployment benefits and sick pay there.”

According to a survey conducted by the Markets Panorama polling company, 40.9% of Israelis back a boycott of Wadi Ara’s Arab residents, compared to 41.9% who oppose such a move.

The survey, which polled 612 Israeli Jews and Arabs, also found that Netanyahu’s coalition partners are maintaining a relatively stable level of support, and would win a majority if new elections were held today.

The current Likud-led coalition, which includes Kulanu, Jewish Home, Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Yisrael Beytenu, includes 66 MKs – one short of the 67 total won by the coalition’s members, due to the departure of MK Orly Levy, who broke off from Yisrael Beytenu in 2016 to become an independent MK.

If elections were held today, the coalition would suffer a net loss of just two seats – from 66 to 64.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party would remain the largest party in Israel, but would fall from the 30 seats it won in 2015 to 24. Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which won 19 seats in 2013, only to fall to 11 in 2015, would rise back up to 19 mandates.

The Zionist Union party, currently the largest faction in the opposition, would drop by 7 mandates, falling from 24 to 17 seats, while the predominantly Arab Joint List party would maintain its 13 mandates.

The Jewish Home party rose by 2 seats in the poll from its current 8 to 10 mandates. Close behind is Yisrael Beytenu, which showed a 50% increase, rising from the six mandates it won in 2015 to nine.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party fell in the poll by 3 seats, from the 10 in won in 2015 to 7 mandates, tied with the far-left Meretz, which rose by 2 mandates from the 5 it won in 2015.

The haredi parties showed a net combined gain of 1 seat, from 13 to 14. United Torah Judaism gained two mandates, rising to eight seats, while Shas lose one, falling to six. Some recent polls have shown Shas failing to cross the electoral threshold.