Netanyahu versus Abu Yair


Opinion: An uninformed visitor to Israel on eve of elections could be forgiven for thinking the PM is was running as head of an Arab party due to his efforts to present himself as a lover of the sector, despite 12 years of race-baiting, discriminatory laws Abu Much

“We are all with you Abu Yair,” read Likud billboards in some Arab cities and neighborhoods, using the custom of referring to a man by the name of his eldest son. In this case, it is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose eldest son is named Yair.

The billboards are accompanied by cars blaring the Likud jingle through loudspeakers, performed (natch) by a Jewish singer.

Netanyahu told a Channel 12 interviewer how his eyes filled with tears when a group of young Arabs who saw him on the beach in his tony hometown of Caesarea called out to him using the moniker.

An uninformed visitor landing in the country ahead of next week’s elections, the fourth in two years, would be amazed at the love purportedly bestowed on the prime minister by Israel’s Arab citizens.

That visitor could also be forgiven for believing that Netanyahu was running at the head of an Arab party, despite the Likud logo appearing prominently on the billboards.

But this is the same prime minister who during his tenure redefined the term right-wing to mean Arab hater. The politician who suddenly decided to reinvent himself as Abu Yair and visit Arab cities and villages, many of which he had never even heard of before.

Netanyahu has recently popped up in Arab communities to promise that he would fight the wave of violence plaguing them; violence that has only grown while he has been in power for more than a decade.

He told the residents of those towns and villages that he plans to bring more Arabs into his government, despite having campaigned to delegitimize the entire sector in the three preceding election campaigns.

In those campaigns he tried to prevent Arabs from taking part in the Israeli political process at all.

The shift in the attitude towards Arab citizens is to be commended. But was it not Netanyahu who passed the Nation State Law that is an insult to every Israeli Arab, just in order to please his anti-Arab base? This is a law removed Arabic as an official language of Israel, among other discriminatory steps.


Was it not Netanyahu who campaigned to place cameras at polling stations in Arab communities in order to suppress the vote, while also alleging there was widespread voter fraud?

Was it not Netanyahu who pushed a law to sanction violations of building codes in Arab communities, despite the fact that no land has been allocated for housing for young Arabs since the establishment of the state?

Was it not Netanyahu who was accused by a member of his coalition of suspending the legislative drive only after he realized Jewish communities also stood to suffer from it?

Was it not Netanyahu who agreed to promote a bill to limit the use of the traditional Muslim call for prayer?


If that legislation had not been suspended, albeit temporarily, what would the reaction of the Muslim world been to such an offensive law?

And was it not Netanyahu who refused to call violence by settlers and religious zealots against Palestinians as terrorism?

Was it not Netanyahu who allowed communities to ban Arabs from purchasing homes there imply based on their national or religious identity?

And now he wants Arabs to vote for him.


Netanyahu thinks that he can win votes by calling himself Abu Yair and pretending to be an entirely new candidate who has nothing to do with the prime minister who has been in power for the past 12 years.

He is blatantly ignoring the fact that he behaved so badly towards 20% of the citizens of Israel and hopes they will too.



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