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News > World

Israel's Palestinian Citizens Turn-Out at Record Low During Elections as Likud Applies Methods of Intimidation

  • Supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party waves flags

    Supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party waves flags | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 April 2019

The turn-out of Israeli Palestinian citizens has reached a new record low for the elections on Tuesday, according to a leading Israeli pollster.

With growing anti-Arab sentiment and racist remarks made by public officials in Israel, it should come as no surprise that the voter turn-out for Palestinian citizens in Israel is at a historic low. 

Pollster and professor of statistics at the Tel Aviv University, Camil Fuchs, told Channel 13 in an interview that the Palestinian turn-out in these elections might be at a historic low. "It might be the biggest drama in these elections," Fuchs added. 

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However, the boycott of the elections could have serious consequences for Israel's minority. Without the Arab vote, most parties representing the Arab community might not make it into the parliament, or the Knesset. Thus, shifting politics in Israel even further to the right. 

Despite calls by Mtanes Shihadeh, leader of Balad, a nationalist Palestinian party to go out and vote, Arab minorities seem to have ignored the call to the ballots. Mtanes Shihadeh stressed that the far-right in Israel "wants to erase us from the political arena."

The Prime Minister made it clear himself, saying that "Israel isn't a state of all its citizens...Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people - and it alone."

For those boycotting the vote, however, the issue of racism in Israel is bigger than little to no representation in Israeli politics through minority parties. Arab citizens of Israel have fewer job opportunities and receive fewer government funds for education, healthcare and infrastructure. Many do not want to be used anymore in the elections, so Israel can claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East. 

Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party, on the other hand, are doing everything in their power to stop Arabs from going to the polls. Several people have reported how they were filmed during today's election through hidden cameras and hundreds of activists that attempt to deter them from voting. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu's own interests are at stake during these elections as well. He is fighting to avoid investigations into at least three separate cases of bribery and other corruption charges. Without the majority, he could lose serious backing in the country's institutions. 
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