Arab lawmakers in Israel slam vote comments by Likud MP
Knesset in session
Palestinian lawmakers in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) have slammed assertions by a senior figure in Israel’s ruling Likud party that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship should not be allowed to vote in national elections.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, government coalition chairman David Bitan declared at an event held Saturday: “I’d rather the Arabs won’t go to the polls in droves, and won’t come to the polls at all”, since they tend to vote for the Joint List parliamentary bloc, which is comprised mainly of Arab politicians.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not publicly commented on Bitan’s reported comments, Joint List head Ayman Odeh said in a statement that they reflected Netanyahu’s own views.
“The current [Israeli] leadership repeatedly shows that it only offers blunt racism and cheap populism,” said Odeh.
Ahmad Tibi, another Joint List senior member, mocked Bitan’s comments on Twitter, suggesting they could prompt more Palestinian citizens to vote in upcoming polls.
Bitan’s statement recalled similar comments made by Netanyahu during 2014 general elections, when he accused left-wing Israeli groups of influencing the vote by organizing buses to transport Palestinians to the polls.
(Source / 12.12.2016)