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March 13, 2016 10:12 pm

Arab-Israeli School Principal Launches Scathing Indictment of Arab MKs for Anti-Jewish-State Activism

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Nael Zoabi, principal of the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school and an activist for Jewish-Arab coexistence. Photo: Mida.

Nael Zoabi, principal of the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school and an activist for Jewish-Arab coexistence. Photo: Mida.

The Arab-Israeli leadership prefers investing energy in and siding with Palestinian nationalism to confronting the internal problems of the sector it is supposed to represent, said Nael Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli school principal in the north of the country.

In an extensive interview with the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon, Zoabi — part of the large clan that includes controversial MK Haneen Zoabi of Mavi Marmara fame — insisted that many, if not most, Arabs in the Jewish state would like to work on peaceful coexistence and in bettering their societal standing. But, he asserted harshly, “Their voices are stolen from them” by their own Knesset representatives.

Zoabi bemoaned the fact that his philosophy of education at the Tamra Ha’emek Elementary School is antithetical to what the Arab politicians are preaching, accusing them of seeking “higher ratings.”

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“I meet with Arab and Jewish youth, religious and secular; I speak at home gatherings. Jews from the Diaspora come to visit me, and I introduce them to our people. I raise the issue of coexistence at every opportunity at the school, and write op-eds for Israeli papers like Israel Hayom and Haaretz. I came to educate the kids at the school to be good people and citizens, and not just any citizens, but effective ones. We don’t have another state or country — not us and not you,” he told Makor Rishon.

Slamming the Arab politicians in Israel for what he considers their shameful behavior (i.e. failing to condemn terrorist attacks against Jews and visiting the families of slain Palestinian terrorists), Zoabi said, “I won’t allow people like that to stain my reputation or that of my family or my religion [Islam]. More and more people from the Arab sector are distancing themselves from the ideas and actions of the politicians, who do not represent us,” he said. “They are feeding our public with lies. The leaders are selling the [false story] that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger and that Jews want to attack it. This is unacceptable to me. The state of Israel does not want to do such a thing, and if there were an extremist even considering it, the state would know how to handle him. I trust in [Israel].”

According to Makor Rishon, Zoabi said that though he has criticism of Israel, everything begins within the Arab sector internally. “We want leaders who worry about their public,” he said. “There are serious problems in our sector – relating to education, housing, employment, academic studies, violence and other issues.”

But, he asked rhetorically and then answered, “Who is addressing this? Nobody. The only issues our leaders concern themselves with are anti-Israel ones.”

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  • Eli

    How ironic that the only middle-east country in which Arabs are allowed to criticize the government is Israel. The indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks from the Gaza and southern Lebanon are aimed at Israel, and not only its Jewish citizens.

  • NuritG

    The longer the Arab “leaders” concern themselves with anti-Israel issues and display of sedition the longer Arabs will be marginalized and the longest it will take to make their life better.

  • Yehudit

    This is great but you want to distance yourself from MK’s that don’t represent you, vote for MK’s who DO. Let the traitorous bunch that you say don’t represent you go home and do without their power, their paychecks and their perks.

    • shloime

      that sounds reasonable in theory, but not so much in practice, thanks to the peculiarities of the israeli electoral system.

      not all arabs voted for the united arab list, because they only got about 10% of the votes (and seats) in total. which is significantly lower than the percentage of arab israelis.

      and even then, the “united” arab list isn’t so united, because it’s stitched together from 4 different parties with completely different agendas. they or may not hold together in the next election, but if there is any alternative, they will lose some of their 13 seats. but the key will be to offer some palatable alternative to balad’s nonsense.

    • David

      A very long time ago, 25 years ago, I lived as a volunteer in Ibillin which is next door to Tamra. During the election that occurred while I was there I was astounded to see that most in Ibillin voted for Likud and Labor with a very small number voting for the Communist / Arab party. I am curious what those stats looked like in this last election.

  • That he spoke out is good, but unfortunately these MKs are elected by the Arab electorate, so a part of the Israeli Arab population agrees with the extremist views of some Arab MKs.

  • Richard E Sherwin

    you’re right, and i wish at least ONE of the arab knesset members took off time from ideological nonsense (nonsense because there are already enough hamas and plo propagandists theyre in competition with) and tended to the israeli arab community’s immediate needs and hopes. instead all the current mis/representatives in knesset have abandoned the israeli arab community. which seems to me criminal malfeasance of office.

    • shloime

      in israel it’s called “politics as usual”.

  • stevenl

    Why is N. Zoabi & others not creating a movement through the whole Palestinian population to counter-balance the genocidal fanatics? They will get internal and external support. It must come from them. That is the only way to freedom.

    • shloime

      yes, it needs to come from them. but does it need to be yet another sectarian movement? why can’t they join a “regular” party? perhaps not “agudas yisroel” or “bayit yehudi”, but with over 30 parties registered for the last election, you would think that at least one or two existing parties could suit them. and being represented INSIDE the government is always better than complaining from the outside.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Principal Nael Zoabi is right on all accounts. Israel has not dome enough to bolster and protect the Arab community as well as the Jewish community internally. Both communities are currently at risk. Notwithstanding, too many of the Arab parliamentarian are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. If they represent Israel at the Knesset, if they represent Israeli Arabs at the Knesset, they are obliged to speak within the parameters of their Israeli Arab constituency.The work which must be accomplished to improve the lives of all Israeli Arabs must be foremost in the Knesset members’ thoughts, plans and deeds.

  • susan

    People like him should run for the Knesset to represent Israeli Arabs! Get rid of the agitators.

    • Mark

      But he doesn’t represent Israeli Arabs, that’s why he didn’t run and wasn’t elected. What is wrong with Jews that they just don’t get that the Israeli Arab population hates the Jewish state openly so? The Israeli Arab Knesset Members do an excellent job at representing their voters – the Israeli Arab population. This man represents nothing but himself and a select few. Nothing more.

    • shloime

      no individual can run for the knesset on their own – it’s a proportional representation system, with a minimum threshold of 4 (?) seats. which means that he needs a list of at least 3 other candidates, and 3.25% of all the votes cast.

      it would make more sense for arabs with his political views to support what used to be called the labour party, but the brilliant stroke of marketing that renamed it the “zionist union” made that very improbable.

  • Israeli Arabs who have a similar philosophy need to put forward their own candidates for the Knesset, even forming a new party if necessary. Of course, they could vote for the slates of the major Israeli political parties, but they do need a voice that represents their interests in particular.

    • shloime

      they should learn from the jews: they should find themselves some old guy with a big gray beard who dresses funny to be their spiritual advisor, a weird slightly xenophobic name like “po” (protectors of arabia), and a leader who has served jail time. then they can join the coalition and extort billions of shekels’ worth of “concessions” for their loyal followers.

      why not, it worked for shas.

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