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November 30, 1984 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-11-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

10 Friday, November 30, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS



COMMENT

Meir Kahane's big gamble

BY IRVING GREENBERG
Special to The Jewish News



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„...

Meir Kahane's victory has has-
tened the day of electoral reform
in Israel. At the least, a rule to
require a minimum of 2-3 percent
of the electorate for obtaining a
seat is coming. Therefore, he has
undertaken a sinister gamble to
broaden his base.
Israel has been able' to resist
Arab murderous intentions by its
own Jewish population's strength
and bravery in war — and thanks
to the cooperation of Israeli
Arabs. Despite their kinship to
non-Israeli Arabs and the obvious
feelings at being a minority, Is-
raeli Arabs have lived with Israel
in war and peace. They have given
no substantial support to ter-
rorism nor made any trouble in
wartime — and this, despite their
not being trusted enough to be
drafted into the Israeli army.
Kahane seeks to drive them into
such dissidence as to make life to-
gether unlivable for Jews and
Arabs.
Since 1967, Israeli Arabs have
become more alienated from the
system. This reflects the impact of
contact with Palestinians made
possible by Israeli conquest of the
West Bank, the international
legitimation of Arafat and the
PLO, and Their own improved
position which has made them
more resentful of slights, restric-
tions on governmental job access,
civil rights, etc. During this

period of intensified terrorism,
there are countless incidents
when any or all Arabs present are
searched for security reasons but
Israeli Jews are not. Every time a
terrorist incident occurs, Arabs in
the area are suspect and/or
checked. The result is often a feel-
ing of resentment or shame which
shows up in some political
radicalization. The rise of Likud
to power, with its symbolic
tougher attitudes towards Arabs,
also affects Israeli Arabs.
In the past, Israeli Arabs over-
whelmingly voted through par-
ties dominated by Jews. This
year, for the first time, a bit more
than 50 percent of the Arab voters
cast their ballots for the radical
Arab parties.
To position himself clearly be-
yond Likud and Tehiya (and thus
attract voters) Kahane took the
position that Arabs must be
bribed or expelled to leave Israel
(in his definition, an Israel ex-
panded by the West Bank).
At this point, Kahane's position
makes him a fringe political fig-
ure and close to a pariah among
respectable politicians. Kahane
must- radicalize Jewish opinion to
win. To do that, he must radicalize
Arab opinion and create such mis-
trust between the two com-
munities as to generate a cycle of
repression and expulsion.
Radicalizing Israeli Arab opinion

.

could have a disastrous effect on
Israel's -security and livability.
But Kahane has no problem sin-
cerely convincing himself that
bringing this radicalism out is
only telling a truth which has
been hidden heretofore.
Kahane has embarked on a per-
sonal 'no lose' campaign. He or-
ganized marches on Umm al
Fahm (and will do so for other
Arab villages). If the police let
him in, the march is bound to of-
fend and radicalize. If the police
stop him, he gets media coverage.
The coverage is bound to inflame
Arab opnion anyway. (How would
you feel if a national party preach-
ing that the Jews must leave
America by bribery or expulsion
organized a march through
Skokie?) The resultant anger will
arouse Israeli Jewish opinion and
a polarizing interaction can be set
in motion. Eventually, expulsion
can become a self-fulfilling
prophecy.
Like all good demagogues,
Kahane exploits feal fears and
wounds. Israeli Arabs are feeling
slighted and some,- attraction to
Arab nationalism. In America,
such developments have led to
civil strife and riots. Israel must
mix firmness and understanding
and vigilance to get through this
next period. But Kahane seeks to
foreclose a peaceful solution. A
scholar has estimated that 70 per-

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