Sarhan Bader, a local political activist in the Upper Galilee region until recently, was a member of the ruling right-wing Likud Party. His desire to start an Arab parliamentary faction that actually supports the Jewish state became known in the Prime Minister’s Office, which, according to The Jerusalem Post, encouraged him to pursue that goal.
(If I had a category here called ‘Too Good to Be True,’ this would go there)
Israel Today (H/T Frederic F) “Most Arab citizens are in favor of coexisting, cooperating, and living in harmony with Jewish Israelis,” Sarhan Bader, 36, the party’s founder, told the 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 in peace with our Jewish cousins,” he said.
The current Arab Knesset members are constant targets of criticism over their very public hostility toward the nation they supposedly serve. The leaders of the current Arab parties regularly participate in anti-Israel Palestinian rallies, and have been investigated numerous times for visiting enemy states. SOME ANALYSTS even say some of their members constitute a fifth column within Israeli politics.
One Arab Knesset member, former Balad party head Azmi Bishara, is in self-imposed exile over suspicions that he aided Hezbollah terrorists during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) joined pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish-owned Mavi Mamara in May 2010 on its failed mission to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Others have been known to back the positions of Israel’s enemies. Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi even served as advisor to the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Bader said in another interview that his party would break completely with the behavior of the current Arab Knesset members, most notably by not participating in “Nakba Day” ceremonies that mark Israel’s rebirth as a “catastrophe.”
As evidence that his approach is the right one, Bader noted that despite being much smaller than the Arab population, the Druze community in Israel has curried far more favor by actually working with and as part of the Jewish state. A number of Druze lawmakers serve in center and right-wing parties, including Likud as well as serving in the Israeli Army.
Israel Today If one were to listen only to the mainstream media and Israel’s many antagonists, one would be led to believe that the Jewish state is a horrible and oppressive place for Arabs to live, and that said Arabs desire nothing more than to replace Israel with their own “Palestinian” state.
But if one bothers to listen to those Arabs themselves (something the media often does its best no avoid), a completely different picture emerges. According to the Democracy Index 2011 survey conducted recently by the Israel Democracy Institute, nearly 53 percent of Israeli Arabs are “proud to be Israelis.”
Only 28.3 percent responded that they are “not at all proud” to be Israelis. Those figures would seem a stark contrast to all those criticisms about Israel being an apartheid state that discriminates against and oppresses its Arab population.