Photo Credit: Flash90

{Originally posted to the Elder of Ziyon website}

Haaretz has a fascinating article about the amount of support the Netanyahu governments have given to Israel’s Arab minority, a story that the Western media is simply unaware of (besides some bloggers…)

Ron Gerlitz says he will never forget that dramatic week at the end of 2015. A few months earlier, as codirector of the Jewish-Arab nonprofit organization Sikkuy – The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, he had been called to the Finance Ministry. He was informed that the ministry had conducted a comprehensive, secret study of budgetary discrimination between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities, which it wanted to address. The solution would be a plan aimed at equalizing the government budgets in an unprecedented way. This would involve not a one-time payment to the country’s Arab communities, as had been made in the past, rather it would change the budgeting mechanisms fundamentally, so that the population would receive its fair, proportionate share of support in some areas, like public transportation, but a favorably disproportionate amount in other areas, as part of a process of affirmative action.

The cabinet met on December 27, 2015, to vote on the scheme, known formally as Resolution No. 922: a five-year Economic Development Plan for the Arab Sector. The ground had been prepared. But that morning, the Hebrew edition of TheMarker published an article titled “Right-wing government involved in largest plan for Arab community ever – 15 billion shekels.” The Likud ministers withdrew their support for the move, worried about what their voters would say.

The sponsors of the resolution persisted and an amended version of it was voted on three days later, on December 30. It also failed to pass, this time because of a demand by some ministers to condition any affirmative action involving Israeli Arabs on their doing national service. Levy, Saif, Gerlitz and Benjamin Netanyahu himself almost gave up, yet the prime minister managed to convene the cabinet again, that same afternoon. It was the third such meeting within a week on the same topic – something that usually only happens in wartime.

Today, the 46-year-old Gerlitz, who left his post at Sikkuy last month, says that he is certain Netanyahu really wanted the resolution to be approved because he made the cabinet meet the two additional times until they finally passed it – without the national-service clause.

“That was exceptional,” he says. “Netanyahu could have caved in to the ministers’ opposition and not passed the plan, postponed further discussion until 2016, made massive changes to it or conditioned its passage on all kinds of demands of the Arabs. And yet he insisted that it be pushed through with barely any conditions, as the budget division had delivered it. People at the cabinet meetings say the opponents of the plan did a lot of shouting. ‘I haven’t been in a nursery school like this for some 60-odd years,’ Netanyahu said, rebuking the ministers who were loudly arguing against it.’”

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This is Netanyahu pushing against most in his own party on a plan to help Arabs – and getting them to agree, unanimously.

Does this sound like the Bibi we read about in the media?

And these initiatives have concrete results:

…Over the past seven years, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Arab students enrolled in universities and colleges in Israel has risen by 80 percent. Over five years the number of Arabs studying computer sciences, and the number of Arab students pursuing master’s degrees (in all fields) have both jumped 50 percent, while the number studying for a Ph.D. has soared 60 percent.

In the last decade, the number of Arabs working in high-tech has increased 18-fold, and one-quarter of them are women. By 2020, it is estimated that Arabs will make up 10 percent of the country’s high-tech work force, according to Tsofen, an organization that serves to connect members of that community with Israel’s high-tech employers. The proportion of Arab doctors in Israel has climbed from 10 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2018, and 21 percent of all male doctors are Arab, according to the Health Ministry. Educational institutions in Arab locales are receiving unprecedented levels of funding – including 130 million shekels ($37 million) for informal-education programs. Moreover, public transportation is finally making inroads into the smaller Arab towns, to the point where the Bank of Israel recently declared that the gap in access to such transport between Jewish and Arab locales with fewer than 20,000 residents has shrunk considerably.

Why would a person that much of the West is convinced is a racist do such a thing? The article has some guesses:

There are differing opinions as to why Netanyahu backed the plan, Gerlitz continues: “Maybe he was simply pursuing Israel’s economic interests. Maybe it was important for him to go along with Kahlon, Gamliel and the budgets department people who were all pushing for the plan. Another theory that got some backing is that he wanted to offset the negative impact of his anti-Arab incitement to keep things from getting out of hand.”

Perhaps there is another possibility, one that Haaretz and the Left cannot fathom.

Maybe Netanyahu isn’t a racist. Maybe he is a moral human being who wants to see a strong Israel with a flourishing Arab minority.

A racist would not be secretly doing things to help the people he or she hates. Bibi’s aid to Arab communities was done without the media being aware of it for the most part, and the story above shows what happened when it was exposed – the exposure was a setback for implementation of the plan, because some people in Bibi’s coalition are indeed anti-Arab.

Which brings us to the real answer.

Netanyahu has a vision for Israel’s strength and security for the next century. That is, and has been, his paramount goal. He cannot accomplish that goal without winning elections – the opposition parties simply do not share his strategic vision, if they have one at all.

To win elections, Bibi has to sometimes appeal to the less liberal elements of his party and of Israeli society. If he doesn’t win, in his mind, Israel loses.

Bibi’s supposed “racism” is public – he doesn’t give a damn if people think he is racist because if he doesn’t win, nothing can be done to help Israel in his mind. His true attitudes towards Arabs are revealed by what he does behind the scenes, and the anecdote that the article begins with shows that he has done far more to help Arab society in Israel than any previous prime minister from any party.

The weaker his political position, the more he uses racism as a tool (among many) to get re-elected.

Netanyahu is a politician, and for the past decade, he’s been a very good one. His political instincts are what helps him accomplish his vision for Israel. His vision for Israel is a state where the Arabs are treated as equals and given all the same opportunities as Jews in a Jewish state.

It sure is a better explanation than the ones floated in the article.

In 2016, Bibi visited an Arab school and gave advice to the first graders:

I remember when I came to first grade; I was very excited. It is very exciting. “Welcome first grade” was written on the blackboard. It took me a little while to be able to read the words. Afterwards it was “Hello second grade” and ‘”Hello third grade” – and so it went and this is what awaits you. Boys and girls, I want each and every one of you to do two things: First, learn. Second, be good children. Listen to your parents and your teachers. I want you to listen to me because I want you to learn – learn to write, learn to read, learn Hebrew, Arabic and English. I want you to learn mathematics. I want you to learn science. I want you to learn history – history of the Jewish People, the history of your public. I want you to learn the truth, and the truth says that we were destined to live together. I want you to be doctors, scientists and writers, and be whatever you want to – and are able to – be. I want you to be loyal citizens, integrated into the state of Israel; this is your state. I am truly excited for you. Learn well. Go back home and do what mother and father tell you. May you be successful.

This is probably as accurate a picture of Netanyahu’s desire for Arabs in Israel as has ever been written.

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