MK Ahmed Tibi from the Hadash-Ta'al Party told Yediot Aharonot journalist Nahum Barnea that he admires the hundreds of thousands of protesters who are demonstrating against the judicial reform.
"I have great respect for the protesters," Tibi said. "I admire their perseverance. They are the only opposition today."
Tibi promised that, like Ayman Odeh and Ofer Cassif, he too will join the demonstrators in the streets at a later date, and explained why the Arab public is not joining the protest.
"The agenda of the demonstrations is focused on the judicial system," he said. "The Arab public has no love neither for the judicial system as a whole nor for the Supreme Court. A study conducted at the University of Haifa proved that sentences against Arabs are 30 percent more severe than sentences against Jews, for the same crimes. The Supreme Court approved the settlements, the expropriations, the Nationality Law, the Admissions Committee Law, the Kaminitz Law. Arabs who submitted petitions were thrown out the door."
"Someone told me that the demonstrations are of a Zionist militaristic nature. The speakers are military personnel. The flags are blue and white. There are those who make the Arabs feel ‘don't come near, you will be harmed.’ This is the same treatment we received from the previous coalition, of Bennett and Lapid: ‘It is better that you don't come.’”
Despite his words, Tibi called on the Arabs to participate in the demonstrations, saying, "I know that if the legislation passes, the Arabs will be harmed."
"If there is a real dictatorship here," added Tibi, "it will be possible to prosecute people abroad on charges of war crimes, the founders of the settlement enterprise, the officer who killed the journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh. It will be a blessing in disguise."
Hadash, Odeh's party, published a video during the election campaign calling then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid a murderer. The reasoning for this: The Palestinian Arabs who were killed during the IDF’s counterterrorism Operation Break the Wave. Barnea reminded Tibi that Lapid was offended by the video and refused to invite Odeh to meetings of the heads of the opposition parties.
"In my opinion, this is unfair behavior," Tibi said. "We recommended Lapid to the President. When the Bennett government was sworn in, even though we were not invited to join, we did not vote against it. We would leave the plenum. Lapid came out to me, sat down next to me and said: ‘Thank you, I will never forget this.’”
"When the ministers of the previous government approached us and asked us to support their laws, if it did not harm our interests, we voted in favor or abstained. It was not us who toppled the government - members of the coalition toppled it. We must remember that this was a government that killed more Palestinians than any other government in the last 16 years – not only did it kill, it was proud that it did so."
Tibi emphasized that Lapid does not hate Arabs. "I respect him; I have no interest in fighting with him - that wouldn't be wise. But he expects us to dance to his tune. It won't happen. Lapid will never again be Prime Minister without us."