Israeli Arab to form new pro-Israel party (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 04/27/12)
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Move over Balad, Hadash and the United Arab List-Ta’al.
In the next general election, there will be a new Arab party. But
what is tentatively labeled the Israeli-Arab Nationalist Party will
be very different from the current Arab factions in the Knesset.
While those factions’ MKs have been criticized for being too extreme
and vocal in their criticism of the Jewish state, the new party will
be unabashedly pro-Israel and take a very different approach.
“Most Arab citizens are in favor of coexisting, cooperating and
living in harmony with Jewish Israelis,” the party’s founder, Sarhan
Bader, told The Jerusalem Post. “The other Arab parties place too
much emphasis on the Palestinians and external Arabs. But it’s more
important to serve the Arabs inside Israel who want to live here in
peace with our Jewish cousins. After we solve the problems of
internal Arabs, we can help the Palestinians.”
Bader said he would fight for the rights of Israeli Arabs and fair
expression for his sector, which he said totaled 22 percent of the
population. He said his party would represent its constituency better
than the current Arab parties, in part because he intends to join the
coalition, which no Arab party has ever done.
“To serve the Arabs properly, it’s important to work together with
the ruling party in the coalition,” he said. “The Druse MKs who are
part of the coalition [in Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and the Independence
Party] help their constituency a hundred times more than every Arab
MK in the opposition. I will dramatically improve things for the Arab
Bader, 36, has been involved in local politics for many years in
Nahaf, his Upper Galilee village.
Out of a belief that large ruling parties can be more effective, he
was a member of the Likud before deciding that the formation of a pro-
Israel Arab party was more urgent.
Asked if backing Likud caused him problems, he admitted that he had
encountered hostility but said he always resolutely defended his
Bader’s behavior reached the Prime Minister’s Office, which
encouraged him to form the party that may end up acting as an Arab
satellite party of Likud.
“Only a strong party like Likud can bring peace,” he said. “It’s true
The Left won’t bring peace. Labor never did anything for the Arab
sector. It’s time to give a chance to the Right.”
Bader described the party as six months away from being ready.
Mocking the current Arab lawmakers again, he blasted their visits to
Libya and Lebanon.
“They went to Gaddafi and called him a king to get money from him for
a soccer stadium and a few months later they called him a murderer,”
In a recent interview with journalist Shalom Yerushalmi, Bader
predicted that his party would win three seats in the next election.
Yerushalmi asked how the party would mark “Nakba Day,” the
anniversary of Israel’s founding that Palestinians and some Israeli
Arabs observe with anti-Israel rallies.
“We won’t officially mark the day,” he said. “But I am not
responsible for what each person feels in his heart.” (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 04/27/12)
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