Surprising Votes: A Settler Votes for Labor, a Bedouin for Bennett

January 22, 2013 9:32 am 0 comments

Bedouins from the northern Israel gather together with Jewish Home politicians in a rally meeting on Sunday, January 20. Photo: Tazpit News Agency

There are Israeli voters making some surprising and rather unexpected choices for political candidates on election day.

Yair Hizni,who grew up in a settler family in Hebron, is casting his vote for Shelly Yachimovich, the leader of Israel’s Labor Party.  Hizni, a teacher, who lived in the settlement community of Nokdim in Judea before recently moving to Jerusalem, spoke with Tazpit News Agency about his decision to support Labor’s Yachimovich.

“It’s less about the political parties and more about who Shelley is for me,” said Hizni.

“I believe that Shelly speaks in a language that people can respect – she is a very ethical and honest person,” Hizni told Tazpit News Agency.

“Shelly doesn’t take the typical left-wing stance on certain issues and has the ability to bridge between the different sectors of Israeli society and solve the problems of this country,” he said.

“Take for example, the settlers,” said Hizni. “Shelly is probably one of the few politicians from the left who doesn’t speak with hate against the settlers – as well as the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel – she is someone who wants to talk with these groups. She doesn’t speak with the hatred that has characterized many leftist politicians over the years against the settlers.”

“But for me,” said Hizni, “Shelly’s stances on economic and domestic issues are just as important. The economy, the weaker sectors of our society – for example, the elderly, Holocaust survivors — also need to be addressed.”

In an interview with Ha’aretz last year, Yachimovich stated that seeing the settlers join Israel’s summer social justice protests made her “unequivocally” happy. “There is a new language, a unifying language, a uniting language,” she stated in the interview.

In a country where politics is taken very seriously, Hizni says that his parents, who live in Hebron, found it difficult in the beginning to accept his more liberal perspective.

“In the beginning, they were shocked,” he said laughing. “Politics is very important to them. But now we talk freely about politics and I love the dialogue – even with their right-wing neighbors.”

Another Israeli citizen, Khaled Mazared of Beit Zarzir in northern Israel is also looking for an “honest” politician. Mazared is casting his vote with the religious Zionist party, Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett.

A Bedouin who served as a captain in the IDF’s Givati brigade, Mazared believes that Bennett’s stand on Israel’s security and his commitment to the spirit of the IDF is critical.

For Mazared, who is Muslim, the fact that Bennett is religious and wears a kippa (traditional Jewish skullcap) makes him trustworthy. “In the army, I served with men like Bennett, who were religious and had values. I know their word is good and based on my army experience, I trust Bennett,” Marazed told Tazpit News Agency.

“Bennett speaks in a simple and real way. He says that whoever is loyal to the country deserves to be acknowledged for their service and addressed. As a Bedouin, politicians have always made us promises and at the end, they didn’t do anything,” Mazared said.

Bedouin citizens are a minority within the Arab community in Israel, and make up three percent of Israel’s population.  Considered as semi-nomadic tribes, most Bedouins originally come from Hejaz, a region  in the north of the Arabian peninsula, and immigrated to Israel between the 14th and 18th century. Some also arrived to Israel from the Syrian desert. Today Israel’s Bedouin tribes are concentrated in southern, central and northern regions of the country, with a significant number, especially from northern Israel, serving in the Israeli army and identifying with the Jewish state.

“Most of my community wants to give Bennett a chance – he is new and it seems that he will be able to appreciate the Bedouin people and help us, especially with education, government employment and public transportation. My Bedouin community has always supported politicians like General Raful Eitan and Rehavam Ze’evi in the past, and Bennett seems to follow.”

“I hope that Bennett does well on Tuesday,” concluded Marazed. “ I’ve done everything I can to encourage other Bedouins to vote for him.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports US & Canada Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    JNS.org – An organization whose work focuses on the estimated population of 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans congratulated David Blatt, the Jewish head coach of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers and a longtime Israel-based coach, for clinching an appearance in the NBA Finals. The Israeli-American Council (IAC), whose stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Bacon Ben and Jerry’s Not Going to Happen Because It’s Not Kosher

    Bacon Ben and Jerry’s Not Going to Happen Because It’s Not Kosher

    Ben & Jerry’s Marketing Director Alison Gilbert told AOL’s morning show Rise that the ice cream brand will not add bacon to any of its products because that would not be kosher. “It’s kind of funny, a lot of people look for bacon in our ice cream, which is probably not gonna happen because all of our ice cream is kosher,” she said, referring to Jewish dietary restrictions that proscribe the consumption of pig meat. Almost all Ben & Jerry’s [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli athletes at a world Judo championship in Morocco reportedly faced antisemitic slurs during the competition, news site WorldNetDaily reported on Monday. “We will murder you,” and “you’re not wanted here, go home,” were among the vituperative attacks directed at the Israeli Judo Association team, which was in Morocco last week for the World Masters Judo Tournament. According to Haaretz, each Israeli teammate was met with boos and jeers upon entering a fight. Additionally, no Israeli flags were present at [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.