Gov’t blocks Lieberman’s elections pledge

Posted: May 31, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Own Articles, Palestinians, Terrorism

Israel Beitenu's Avigdor Lieberman

GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE, DELIBERATING on Israel Beitenus proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, rejected the proposal requiring anyone willing to receive Israeli citizenship to pledge allegiance to the State.

The bill – a major milestone in Right wing party’s elections campaign – was envisioned as a way to fight disloyalty of Israeli Palestinian citizens. Going as far as allowing Minister of Interior to annul identification cards of unfaithful citizens, the bill drew harsh waves of criticism upon itself and its architects. Avishai Braverman – a Minister of Minority Affairs from the Left leaning Labor party – pronounced his distress with the bill, saying: “I hope these kinds of motions will never be heard in the government again”.

While causing heated debate, the bill never stood a chance. The question, however, is still in order: should Israel battle its own faithless populations, or should it just let go?


ISRAELI PALESTINIANS, CLEARLY sensing the bill aims at them, were the ones to react most bitterly to the propositions, going as far as labeling the possible acceptance of the bill as “declaration of war against the Arab citizens”. Not surprisingly, however, none of the Israeli Palestinian leaders addressed the pretext behind the amendment – that many Israelis are fearful of the Arab sectors, clearly seeing potential enemy within Israel. And for a good reason.

During the outbreak of violence in October 2000 in West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Arabs joined the hostilities en masse, virtually blocking Israeli north from the rest of the country, participating in violent riots in the Old City of Jerusalem. It goes farther back than that, however: in 1997, July 22nd, Israeli Arab terrorist attempted to run over group of English and Canadian tourists; failing that, he attacked them with a knife, injuring 11. On June 26nd, 2003, 31-years-old Amos Mantin was shot in Israeli Palestinian town of Baka al-Garbiyeh. Finally, on June 2nd, 2008, Hussam Taysir Duwait, resident of East Jerusalem, murdered three and wounded over 50, when he used a bulldozer to attack civilians in cars and in a bus.

While attacks by Israeli Palestinians are rare – certainly infrequent in comparison to their Palestinian brethren – the ease with which the former could gain access to virtually any Israeli city scares many. The fact that Israeli Palestinians wave only Palestinian flags on demonstrations – and that the demonstrations are always anti-Israel but never anti-terrorist – brings them into collision with Israeli Jews.

While some of those find their own way of coping with antagonism towards their country, many went after Avigdor Lieberman, portrayed by his advisers as a strong man willing to put a stop to fear of many by standing up to what is perceived as the enemy within. While relations between Israeli Jews and their Palestinian peers are usually relaxed – with many Israeli Palestinians working in Israeli institutions, such as banks and publishing houses – many Jews still keep in mind that a worker always has access to knives and heavy construction equipment.

While Israelis should work on dropping their fears, it is imperative for new generation of Israeli Palestinian leadership – not people currently residing in their offices, under HADASH and BALAD banners – struggling to abolish Israel’s Jewish identity – but strong leaders, confident enough to transfer the focus from hatred of Jews to development of Israeli Palestinian towns and cities, as well as education and healthcare. Israeli Palestinian society will have to transform, in order to benefit from modern world.

  1. […] his tunes, and is forced to play by the rules. For example, bill, proposed by his party, was sent down the drain. And while he threatened Iran with all but eternal hell and damnation, after the elections he […]

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