ANETT HASKIA embraces her youngest son, Hussam, at his IDF swearing-in ceremony at the Kotel. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I’ve been an easy target for Arab MKs such as Ahmed Tibi of Ta’al, who call me a traitor and accuse me of being “a crazy, attention-seeker out to make personal gains.”
It’s easy for people who’ve occupied Knesset seats since the late 1990s and whom the Israeli elites blindly support for the simple reason that they label themselves “oppressed Palestinian freedom- fighters” to accuse me of being a warmonger who is aiding the “enemy.” Only they don’t seem to understand that this “enemy” is the same “enemy” that’s paying their bills and sending their kids to the most prestigious European universities. They don’t seem to understand this because it serves their selfish interests and continues igniting the fires of hatred and animosity.
Arab MKs have had an easy way in. Fighting “prejudice” and alluding to themselves as second-class citizens, they’ve gotten a free pass from the media and the Israeli elites.
Not so with me. Over the last month, I’ve been interviewed by almost every major local news source, and almost every one of them has had a hand in distorting my image to make me look like an ignorant warmonger.
An example of this is the full-day interview I gave Channel 1. Its news crew consciously included the worst possible parts of the interview, leaving out things that could have served my campaign.
This scenario has played out during almost every interview I’ve given the press.
Not so for Arab MKs. Ahmed Tibi recently went on Channel 10 and demanded that the picture of an Israeli flag in the background be taken down while he was discussing ways of putting an end to the “Zionist occupation.” Of course, the news crew acquiesced to his demand. Tibi is a “poor, downtrodden Palestinian,” while I’m a proud Israeli Zionist who will not make excuses for Israel’s defense of its borders. This is why the press treats Tibi like royalty and Haskia like extra baggage they’d rather not have to deal with.
Arab MKs have it good.
They live in posh, multi-story mansions built from the proceeds from wealthy leftwing donors and radical-left NGOs like Peace Now, B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, J Street and the New Israel Fund. They have no trouble raising money, whether for their Knesset campaigns or for trips to enemy countries such as Qatar, where MKs Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas visited in a fund-raising effort while Operation Protective Edge was still under way.
Then there’s me: a law-abiding citizen, founder and CEO of The True Voice organization that helps Arab-Israeli youths volunteer for national service (I don’t expect everyone to be as patriotic as my own children and do the army), and supports battered women in the Arab sector.
I don’t get handouts. I’m what I consider a self-made woman, but I lost my hairstyling business when my Jewish customers abandoned me one by one claiming they loved Arabs more than I did. That’s what I call hypocrisy.
My Knesset campaign isn’t sponsored by rich left-wing philanthropists who have no idea they’re serving the cause of hatred, incitement and continued segregation in our society – the very things I’ve been fighting against for the last four years without getting a penny’s worth of help from the B’Tselems and Peace Nows (not that I’d go to them for help). The little money I have received for basic needs such as getting from one place to another has come from individual supporters.
The Arab MKs represent a fifth column; these are people bent on Israel’s destruction just as much as Hamas and Fatah. Only they’re parading – perhaps not even parading anymore – as democratic representatives of Israel’s Arab constituency. They call me a traitor for taking up the cause of true peace; a peace whereby Jews and Arabs can live side-by-side with mutual respect and understanding for each other’s culture, religion and heritage; a peace where Israel isn’t forced to betray its national interests in the name of being “forgiven” by the world community (anyone remember the Holocaust, or do you need an Arab Muslim to remind you?!) or a peace that will last exactly two weeks.
For there to be true and lasting peace, there’s absolutely no need to create a Palestinian state where one has never existed, endangering Israel’s security and placing Israeli Arabs loyal to the Jewish state in an awkward position whereby they would have to feel pangs of guilt (and perhaps rightfully so) every time another bombing took place.
On the contrary, this would only further the goals of the extremists. Those Israeli Arabs truly interested in a peaceful solution to the conflict would be left out and there would be a backlash from Israeli Jews similar to what happened following Oslo and Wye.
People often ask me: “But how many other Israeli Arabs support Israeli like you do?” All one needs to answer this question is to take a look at the latest polls on how many Israeli Arabs would live in a Palestinian state as opposed to Israel, to realize that if given the opportunity, the silent Israeli Arab majority would openly come out in support of Israel. Nearly every Israeli Arab would prefer to live in Israel over a Palestinian state and just 30 percent come out to vote for Arab parties in Knesset elections. The Arab-Israeli electorate has lost all faith in Arab MKs who do not represent their interests (when was the last time an Arab MK supported a bill to protect battered Arab women trying to flee their abusive husbands or took up the rights of child brides?!).
It comes down to this: the Arab MKs are the real traitors – not me. While I’m running for the Bayit Yehudi candidates list first and foremost in order to serve the best interests of Israeli Arabs, they’re creating further divisions in our society. We’re really no different from anyone else.
We want to lead quiet lives, earning a dignified living to support our families. The vast majority of us want to live in peace with the Jews without suffering from prejudice and discrimination. The Arab MKs want something entirely different.The writer is the founder and CEO of The True Voice, a grassroots organization helping Arab-Israeli youths give back to Israeli society by signing up for national service. This organization also offers assistance to battered Arab women trying to flee abusive relationships.
Haskia’s three children served in the IDF. Her son Hussam participated in Operation Protective Edge and her daughter Suha was the first Arab Muslim woman in the army. She is running for the Bayit Yehudi candidates list with the hope of reforming the political narrative among the Israeli-Arab constituency.