Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Facts About the 1.7 Million Israeli Arabs in Recent Election

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                          

Prime Minister Netanyahu was caught saying that the Arabs were coming out to vote in force and that he wanted his people to get out and vote!  That put him in deep hot water with Europe and the USA.  What many don't realize is that for once, the Arabs were voting in one block instead of many broken up ones, and were being groomed by the USA's Obama to vote for Labor's Herzog, known to be much to the left and most likely very pliable, Obama thought, to his ways of thinking, which actually turned out to be wrong.  There are many political parties that Arabs have organized.  "This time, the  political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel—Hadash, BaladUnited Arab List, and Ta'al. would have gone over to 

be with Labor,  which was the fear.  
Arab women vote in Israel, too.  

The list is ideologically diverse and includes communists, socialists, feminists, Islamists, and Palestinian nationalists.  Where Netanyahu has been concerned with being wiped out by Iran, others have been concerned by high prices of living.  

Security won out in the end with Netanyahu remaining to finish out a term he had stopped after 

2 years when he called for new elections.  Netanyahu had to apologize to his Arab citizens for 

that remark, not meaning the way it came out.  

10 of 12 tribes of Israel being led away in battle 721 BCE

Let's look at the Arabs and Jews and their history in Israel.  Long ago, what came to be called Palestine, was the Jewish states of Israel and Judah.  Israel was attacked and its best citizens were carted away by the Assyrians in 722 BCE.  The Babylonians took over the Assyrians and they also attacked and took the best people in 597 and 586 BCE.  King Solomon had died in 920 BCE which is when Judah was carved out of Israel's southern section.
Jerusalem Destroyed in 70 CE by Romans 
In 70 CE, the Romans had attacked Jerusalem after occupation and destroyed the 2nd Temple.  In 132 CE General Bar Kokhba made his last attempt to retake his land in a 3 year war lasting till 135 when he was killed in battle.  To get even with the Jews, who hadn't had to engage in such a long battle before, they renamed the land as Palaestina, the name of Jews' enemy, the Phoenicians.  There had always been Jews who had never left Eretz Yisrael throughout the Roman Period and all the other conquerers who came along, but many had when Jerusalem fell, becoming Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews, depending on where they went to live.
Abraham Stern (1907-1942), Jewish fighter for Israeli Independence, leader of the Stern Group.Stern was born in SuwałkiPoland (then part of the Russian Empire) where my grandmother was born and raised. Stanley Goldfoot, my 3rd cousin,  became the Chief of Intelligence of the Stern Group-called the Stern Gang by the British who shot Abraham dead at age 35.  Not only were they trying to protect the Jewish population from Arab attacks, but were attacked by the British for doing so.  The British were given the mandate to help Jews create their Jewish Homeland.  Instead they kept out Jews and helped Arabs enter illegally.  
Arabs from Lydda fleeing in 1948 from war
In 1949, at the end of the Israeli War of Independence, there were only some 160,000 Arabs in the new Jewish state of Israel, created on May 14, 1948. Being also a declared state made up of other religions and many nationalities, it was important to keep a Jewish population as the major group, for that was the purpose it was created.

 In 1972   there were 3.2 million people in Israel which were made up of
2.7 million Jews (85.1%)
359,000 Muslims (11.2%)-most all Arabs
 80,000 Christians (2.4%)-most all Arabs
 39,000 Druzes (Arabs that broke away from Islam in 10th Century)
 478,000   non Jewish Arabs

The population increase was due to natural growth and to the readmission of thousands of Arabs who fled when the Arab states attacked Israel.  Many remained in refugee camps and have stayed there to this day, now in very large numbers.

Today there are 6 million Jews living in Israel and 1.7 million Arabs.  They all know that Israel's basic constitutional document is the Proclamation of Independence written in 1948.   It provides complete equality of social and political rights for all citizens regardless of creed, race or sex, and guarantees freedom of religion and conscience, as well as of language, education and culture.  It specifically invites Arabs living in Israel to help build the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all institutions.  There is no institutionalized discrimination against Arabs or other minorities.  All groups may freely exercise all citizen right, including the right to vote and to run for public office.  Netanyahu was not  stopping them from voting; just yelling to his own contingent of Likud to get out and vote.  

Anyone who lived in Israel in 1948 after May 14, 1948 and has stayed there since is an Israeli citizen, not matter if a Jew or Arab.  So is anyone born in Israel since 1948 who continues to live there.  People may come to Israel to live and may become citizens after a waiting period of 3 years in most cases.  However, because it is the established Homeland for the Jewish people who had been without a homeland for over 2,000 years from 70 CE till May 14, 1948, Jews can become a citizen immediately through the LAW OF RETURN.  I didn't realize that it could be immediate for me when my husband and I made aliyah (immigrated) in September 1980.  We waited for the 5 year period expected of new citizens in the USA before filing to have dual citizenship.  I suppose we passed up some voting rights by doing that.
Wherever you go in Israel, you see signs in 3 languages; Hebrew, Arabic and English.  We had gone over as teachers from the USA to be teachers of English in Israel.  I had the occasion to vote for our mayor of Safed (Tzfat) before I left.  Notice the bars on my living room window in Safed.  They are to keep out terrorists since I lived in the ground floor apartment.  We just moved in and I'm waiting for my lift to arrive from the dock in Haifa.  I had turned a twin bed into a sofa of sorts.  Another English teacher at my junior high was an Arab.  He translated the Hebrew in teacher's meetings for me since I understood nothing.  When I left, he got my position.  I believe he lived in Ramallah and traveled quite far to get to our school.

Resource: Jewish Digest 1976,  Israel:  A Pluralistic Democracy -status of Arabs in Jewish State page 22 from American Jewish Committee Background Memorandum


  1. free in israel like no where else in the arab world.

  2. I hope they understand that. I think many do. Nadene

  3. I hope they understand that. I think many do. Nadene