Joint List lawmakers plan to commandeer far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim in the last election that Arabs were heading to the polls “in droves” to encourage voters in April’s election.
Netanyahu’s election-day message to mobilize his right-wing voter base became a defining moment of the 2015 election, drawing criticism and accusations of racism from across the globe.
Now Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List said he plans to use Netanyahu’s phrase, which has become an iconic and sometimes ironic part of the language in Israel, to whip up turnout amongst the Arab-Palestinian national minority in the April 9 vote. “Arabs are not going to forget Netanyahu’s incitement,” Odeh told Reuters. “Netanyahu benefitted from the slogan the first time around. Now it is our turn to benefit.” Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office. If successful, he will become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
The List will run the slogan in Arabic and Hebrew, said Odeh, whose faction holds 13 of the 120 Knesset seats. Odeh said that Joint List’s main task would be to convince potential voters that their participation could affect real change. So far polls show Netanyahu’s Likud will be the largest party in parliament with around 30 seats. Odeh said a key campaign issue would be Israel’s “Nation-State” law, passed in 2018. “I can argue that if we had only voted in greater numbers, we would have been able to block the law,” Odeh said. “They simply wouldn’t have been able to ignore us.”