Israeli Arabs may constitute more than 20 percent of the nation’s population, but as the majority loudly cheers on the military’s attacks on the Gaza Strip the largely antiwar Arabs are finding themselves a disenfranchised and increasingly distrusted minority.
Its limited representation in Israel’s parliament has been largely expelled for complaining about the war, but not before being lectured by Benjamin Netanyahu and accused of being “traitors” by Avigdor Lieberman. Science Minister Raleb Majadele, the nation’s first Arab Muslim cabinet minister, was publicly chastized by Ehud Barak and has reportedly been “punished” for refusing to attend a cabinet meeting in protest of the Gaza attacks.
For now, the Arab citizenry continues to protest, which is really all they can do. But even this is being regarded with growing scrutiny by the Israeli police, dozens of Arabs have been arrested for their involvement in the protests, and the Israeli military’s war games on the Gaza ground invasion view Arab protests as potential security threats.
Israel has a questionable history of allowing its Arab minority to protest against its policies, and as the fighting in Gaza continues to escalate, the pro-war public are unlikely to object too loudly if the government decides that expedience means silencing dissent in the name of national security.