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...

  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.