The Zionist Organization of America strongly condemns Israeli Knesset member Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party for violating their repeated key campaign pledges to not form a government backed by the anti-Zionist, terrorism-inciting Joint Arab List. The news that the Joint Arab List has now unanimously backed Gantz to form the Israeli government is a dark and potentially disastrous day for the Jewish nation. It also highlights the enormous lack of integrity of the Blue and White Party leaders and Lieberman.
Blue and White has betrayed its voters and subverted the democratic will of the Israeli people, and is endangering the well-being of the entire Jewish state and people. As Israel Institute for Strategic Studies’ director Martin Sherman aptly put it, Blue and White is making a covenant with a party that “undisguisedly supports Israel’s most vehement enemies [and] openly denies [Israel’s] status as a Jewish state.” Shamefully, it also cynically castigated party members Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser for having the integrity to insist that Blue and White should honor its pre-election pledge against forming a government with the Arab List.
ZOA is also particularly appalled by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s attempt to justify Blue and White’s decision to break its campaign promise to not sit with or rely on the Joint Arab List. Ya’alon now asserts: “Any government that would prevent [Prime Minister] Netanyahu from remaining in office [would be worth it].”
In fact, Blue and White’s and Avigdor Lieberman’s political ambitions do not justify colluding with anti-Zionist terror-supporters, and entertaining or acceding to any of the Joint Arab List’s inimical demands, which undermine Israel’s security and Israel’s very raison d’être.
The Arab List openly opposes a Jewish state; praises Hamas and other terrorists; promotes the bloody, violent overthrow of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian-Arab state; opposes Israeli defensive actions to stop Hamas and PIJ attacks from Gaza; promotes the entry into Israel of millions of purported descendants of Arabs who voluntarily left Israel 70 years ago at the behest of the Arab League; opposes Israel exercising her sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; opposes Jews praying at the Jewish people’s holiest site; and opposes even discussing the U.S. peace plan. The Joint Arab List’s views are virtually identical to the positions of Israel’s external enemies, including the Palestinian Authority terrorist dictatorship.
The Israeli people, including Blue and White’s own voters, strongly oppose a Joint Arab List-backed government. A recent Israel Hayom poll found that only 17 percent of the Israeli public wants a minority government backed by the Joint Arab List. (“Poll: Most Israelis Oppose Minority Government with Joint Arab List,” Mar. 13, 2020; see also here.)
The logical conclusion is that Gantz, and Blue and White, repeatedly lied to voters about their intentions, knowing full well that they would have been overwhelmingly defeated if they had been honest.
ZOA has previously extensively detailed a lengthy list of the treasonous, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, terror-supporting statements and activities of the Arab parties (Balad, Hadash, Ta’al and Raam) and leaders on the Joint Arab List. (See here and here.) Here are just a few of many such instances:
- Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh, together with Arab Knesset members Ahmad Tibi and Yousef Jabarin, led an anti-Israel, anti-nation-state-law demonstration in Tel Aviv with numerous Palestinian flags waving and shouts of: “With blood and spirit, we’ll free Palestine.” The Jerusalem Post wrote: “The slogans were negating Israel’s very existence as the Jewish state. … It was a demonstration against the Zionist entity and enterprise.”
Odeh, Tibi and Jabarin should have been convicted of racism and treason, and thrown out of the Knesset.
- Knesset member Ayman Odeh incited a Bedouin/Islamic Jihad terrorist car-ramming attack on Israelis. Israeli Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan explainedthat Odeh was at the scene, fanning the flames of hate and inciting violence.
- At the 2019 Arab Balad Party convention, party leaders treasonously declared that Balad is “an inseparable part of the Palestinian national movement”; led singing of the Palestinian national anthem calling for revenge, crossing the borders, struggling for “Palestine, my country” with fire and guns, and swearing to live and die as revolutionaries until they are “back” in Palestine; and received greetings from two Balad former Knesset members who committed treason: Azmi Bishara spied for Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War, and Basel Ghattas exploited his Knesset immunity to smuggle 15 cell phones and information to jailed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists who murdered Jews to enable PIJ terrorists to direct further terror operations from prison.
This is frightening, and the height of treason against the Jewish State of Israel.
- Arab Hadash Party’s token Jew, Offer Cassif, calls Jews who visit the Temple Mount a “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated”; was taped telling his Hebrew University of Jerusalem preparatory class that Israeli policies and laws were comparable to those of Nazi Germany; and called former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked “neo-Nazi scum.”
Cassif should have been convicted of racism and treason, and thrown out of the Knesset.
- Balad Party’s No. 2 Knesset member Heba Yazbak posted praise on Facebook of vicious terrorist Samir Kuntar, who murdered four Jews, including a 4-year-old Jewish girl by smashing her head with a rock and his rifle butt, after shooting and drowning her father in front of her.
Why has Yazbak not been convicted of racism and treason, and thrown out of the Knesset?
Under the Israeli law that forbids candidates from supporting armed conflict against Israel, the Joint Arab List and its terror-supporting candidates should have been disqualified from running in the Knesset election. It is frightening that instead, it will now be in a position to influence or dictate policies undermining Israeli security and Jewish life. They are not loyal citizens of the Jewish state.
The Joint Arab List’s demands in exchange for supporting a Benny Gantz-Blue and White government should be anathema to any self-respecting potential leader of the Jewish state.
The Joint Arab List’s demands include:
- preventing all Jews from praying on the Jewish people’s holiest site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem;
• forbidding the Israeli government from implementing the pro-Israel portions of the Trump administration’s peace plan;
- annulling Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law, which declares that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and assures Jewish immigration, while protecting minority rights;
• annullingthe Kaminetz law that attempts to enforce construction laws (thereby enabling Arab to continue to ignore building regulations and permits, and build illegal structures on Jewish-owned land); and
- eventually dividing Jerusalem and giving half of it to the Arabs for a terrorist Palestinian-Arab state capital.
The Joint Arab List’s leader also indicated the Joint Arab List will not permit Israeli defensive actions in Gaza.
Reliance on the traitorous Joint Arab List to form a government also means that the Joint Arab List can disband the government anytime its future demands are not met. And those demands will further undermine Israel’s safety and very existence.
Gantz’s Blue and White Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party’s big lie to Israeli voters may well endanger and negatively transform the Jewish state. We urge these two leaders to reconsider this grotesque and unconscionable betrayal of the Jewish state and her people.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Mark Levenson is chairman of the Zionist Organization of America’s national board.