Joint List leaders lashed back at Yisrael Beytenu’s racist chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, September 1, after the latter expressed outrage at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to transfer a budget supplement of NIS 900 million to Arab municipalities. Despite support for the deal among the top Arab leadership, Arab representatives told The Jerusalem Post they remain unhappy about the deal, with one saying a strike could still take place next month if Netanyahu doesn’t offer anything new.
Netanyahu made the decision on Monday following a meeting with Joint List MKs led by Ayman Odeh and Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ganaim, who heads the National Committee of Arab Heads of Municipal Authorities. “Netanyahu’s decision to grant Odeh and his anti-Zionist partners such an achievement is tantamount to shooting the Zionist state in the foot,” Lieberman said late Monday night.
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) told The Jerusalem Post that, despite the deal, “the struggle continues. I feel disappointment about what was reached, but respect the decision to give it a chance.” More could have been attained, he said, if the strike had gone ahead and the talks continued for another couple of days. Regarding Lieberman’s comments, Jabareen lashed back saying, “Lieberman doesn’t miss an opportunity to incite against the Arab community and its leaders.” “What we got so far from Netanyahu is not a privilege but a right,” he said, arguing that the supplement the prime minister agreed to was a “marginal” budget increase, far short of the community’s needs.
These needs have increased over the years because of the government’s historical policy of discriminating against the Arab sector in its allocation of resources, he continued, going on to accuse Lieberman of contributing to this discrimination during his tenures as a minister in various governments. The Yisrael Beytenu leader continues “to delegitimize our political and social participation,” Jabareen said.
Jafar Farah, the director of Haifa’s Mossawa Center (The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel), who was present during the Arab leadership talks in Nazareth on Monday to discuss the prime minister’s offer, is pessimistic about the deal and predicted that a strike could occur next month if Netanyahu doesn’t offer anything new. As for Lieberman, Farah said his comments aren’t even worth discussing. “He led his party to failure in the last election” and is looking to distract public attention from the corruption investigation being conducted against persons in Yisrael Beytenu, he said. “His people are suspected of stealing millions and yet he continues to preach and incite,” claimed Farah. “Equality and coexistence scare him.”