Ahmed Tibi casts his vote near his home in Taybeh.
(photo credit: AHMED TIBI FACEBOOK PAGE)
Ta’al Party chairman MK Ahmed Tibi, fourth on the Joint (Arab) List, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “can relax” since he does not seek to be on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, but one dealing with economic affairs such as the Finance Committee in order to have in impact on the Arab sector.
Tibi was swarmed by Taibe residents after voting at a local school, giving numerous interviews to Arab media and taking pictures with supporters.
According to previous polling data by Statnet research institute, Tibi is the most popular Israeli Arab politician.
“Herzog or Bibi [Netanyahu nickname] will not choose what positions we will have in the next Knesset, it depends on the voters and the number of mandates the Joint List gets,” said Tibi.
Asked about Joint List head Ayman Odeh’s comments to the Post
on Monday, where he did not rule out recommending Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to form the next government, saying such a decision would only come after serious talks.
Tibi echoed Odeh’s comments, implying that negotiations would take place with Herzog in order to seek a deal that could lead to the List recommending the Zionist Union leader.
Asked about Netanyahu’s statement at a press conference on Monday where he warned that a victory by the Zionist Union would lead to Tibi gaining a place on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he responded that “Netanyahu is trying to scare people.”
“Bibi can relax as lately he hasn’t been. I don’t want to be on the Defense Committee, but on the Finance Committee,” in order to have an impact on the Arab sector.
Netanyahu also said that the Joint List says “Hamas is not a terrorist organization.”
If a left-wing government would be established “it would depend on these votes,” warned Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu is inciting against the Joint List,” asserted Tibi.
A Taibe resident outside of the same location where Tibi voted and who did not want to be identified, told the Post that as usually is the case, the national election turnout will not match the historically high rate of local municipality turnout.
This is because of the family factor, which has more of a pull than does voting for national candidates that may not have any local kin relationships.
Another resident, who gave his last name as Tawil, said that most Israeli Arabs were going to vote for the Joint List. Asked if ideology was an issue for him in that the Joint List contains socialist, secular, Islamist, and nationalist trends, Tawil responded that he did not pay attention to such differences since “the need for power” and the effort to stay unified is more important.
In Tira, Mohamed Samara, a chemical engineer and football coach who spoke with the Post, concurred that most Arab voters were supporting the Joint List, but that significant numbers were also voting for Zionist parties such as Meretz or the Zionist Union in order to help topple Netanyahu.
The reason some Arab voters are frustrated and will not support the Joint List is because they see Arab politicians as too involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and not enough with local social problems.
Ahmad Iraqi, the owner of the A.R. Espresso Bar, said that the Arab public was overwhelmingly hostile towards Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman. “Liberman can go to hell!” he exclaimed.
Regarding Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, Iraqi said that she “can go back to Tulkarm” in the West Bank since she only concerns herself with Palestinian issues, not Israeli Arab ones.
Naser Nihad, another Tira resident, told the Post that he would be voting for Meretz.
“The Joint List will not succeed” and will break-up after the elections, he predicted, since it is made up of such widely contradicting ideas.
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