8 out of 10 Articles
Arab Israeli town of Rahat

‘Vote or Don’t Vote, It’s the Same’: Arab Israelis Despondent Ahead of 5th Elections

In the Arab Israeli town of Rahat, a few trampled political party flyers on the pavement are the only sign that the country is about to go to the polls.

While the campaign ahead of Israel’s fifth election in four years has been somewhat lackluster nationwide, the apathy is especially acute among the Arab minority where turnout is feared to be low.

“The top issue is how do we get Arab citizens from their house to the ballot box,” said Fayez Abu Souhaiban, mayor of Rahat, ahead of the November 1 polls. “This is a big issue and a very big dilemma.”

The town sits in the southern Negev desert region, far from Israel’s centers of power and home to the majority of Israel’s Bedouins, who are part of the wider Arab community. In Rahat’s central market, many traders and shoppers told AFP they had no idea whom to vote for, and were unable to name any candidates or parties.

In part, the disinterest is the result of dashed hopes for Arab Israelis, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained of discrimination despite recent political gains. (TOI / VFI News)