Israel’s Arabic-language press coverage of the Israeli elections

24th March 2006 - The below is a summary of coverage of the Israeli general elections in the Arab press in Israel, compiled by the I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel.

Glossary of Arab parties covered in this edition:
The Communist Party - also known in Arabic as al-Jabha, in Hebrew as Hadash
The National Democratic Assembly - also known in Arabic as Ittijamo, in Hebrew as Balad
The United Arab List - also known in Arabic as al Mowahhadi

The following are the brief summaries of articles in today’s Arabic newspapers and Internet websites relating to the forthcoming general election:

Kol il Arab: Weekly commercial Arabic newspaper

  1. Kol il Arab conducted a survey which forecasts that all of the Arab parties will pass the 2% minimum required to get official representation in the Knesset, and 69% of eligible Arab voters will vote in the election next week. The Communist Party will get more than 3 seats, the NDA more than 3 seats, and the United Arab List 4 seats.
  2. The heads of the three major Arab parties (MK Mohammed Baraki of the Communist Party, MK Dr. Azmi Bishara of the NDA and Sheikh Ibrahim Abdullah Sarsour of the United Arab List) came to Kol il Arab newspaper to call on Arab voters to vote just for Arab parties.
  3. The Centre Against Racism published their report for 2005. Findings included: 63% of Jewish respondents said Arabs pose a danger to them (demographically, etc), and 40% support transfer. There were 255 incidents of racism against Arabs in 2005 and 75% of these were on the part of official authorities.
  4. The Communist Party refused to take part in a roundtable organized by Ariel College in the occupied West Bank.
  5. Amir Peretz, head of the Labour Party, said that his government will have an Arab Cabinet Minister, and that he refuses the involvement of the Shabak in the educational system (all educators are currently subject to Shabak scrutiny with those whose views the security forces disapprove of often losing their jobs).
  6. The NDA went to the meeting of the Israeli committee monitoring the elections in Majd al-Kurum asking them to cancel opening ceremonies for an educational center in the town because is Kadima is using it to win votes.
  7. The deputy education minister Mjelli Wehbi cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony for a new school for physically challenged students in Kfar Manda.

Hadith Al-Nas: Weekly commercial Arabic newspaper

  1. MK Dehamshe (United Arab List) asked the Minister of Health and Agriculature to work directly and quickly to protect the Arab Bedouins in the Negev from the Bird Flu epidemic.

Al-Sannara: Weekly commercial Arabic newspaper

  1. 5 pages were devoted to articles mounting personal attacks on Azmi Bishara.
  2. 5,014,522 citizens are eligible to vote next Tuesday in the formation of Israel’s 17th Knesset. 620,000 of these are Arab voters. 294,000 are new voters and 45,000 are Arabs.
  3. The wife of Amir Peretz and his daughter Cheeni said that there is a bridge between them and the Arab population, particularly the Bedouins in the Negev. The wife mentioned that she is like Om Khalthoum and Abdul Halim Hafez (famous Arab singers) and can sing “Inta Omari,” (a famous Om Khalthoum song).
  4. Interviews with MKs Fuad Ben Eliezer from the Labour Party, Mohammed Baraki from Communist Party, Dr. Ahmed Tibi from the United Arab List, Nadia El Hilou running for MK in Labour Party, Dr. Afo Ighbaria running for MK for Communist Party, MK Ophir Pines from Labour, Esma Ighbaria running for MK for Da’im.
  5. A Media Office says that the Communist Party will garner 53% of the Arab votes in Carmiel.

Panorama: Weekly commercial Arabic newspaper

  1. Arab MKs sent a letter to Panorama asking that they publish a statement made in common asking that Arabs vote for Arab parties.
  2. MK Mohammed Baraki from the Communist Party said that voting is a duty to the homeland.
  3. Dr. Hanna Sweid running for MK for the Communist Party said that failing to vote will weaken the Arab position in Israeli society.
  4. MK Dr. Azmi Bishara said that voting is a duty for the homeland and that having representation in the parliament protects Arab rights.
  5. MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka from the NDA said that it’s better for the Arabs to have more representatives in the Knesset to give the Arab society more power to solve the problems besetting the community.
  6. Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour running for MK for the United Arab List said that there is nothing in nationalist or Islamic thought that forbids us from voting, and that there are thousands of reasons to vote.
  7. MK Ahmed Tibi said that if we want to repell the attacks of Marzel and Liberman (heads of right-wing Jewish parties advocating transfer) it will be by going to vote in the election.
  8. A full-page article covering surveys that different media outlets, parties and colleges have produced in the run up to the election.
  9. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the educational center in Majd al-Kurum has been postponed after the Committee monitoring electoral practices ruled that for the Minister of Building to attend the opening of the school is improper campaigning practice.
  10. Mada al-Carmel Research Center produced a survey with a selection of the results showing:
    • 41% have decided who they will vote for, 37% are undecided, 22% are not voting
    • 83% would prefer a union between the Arab parties
    • 56% feel the decision by the Arab parties not to form a union will not effect their decision to vote, 44% may alter their vote as a result of this
    • 64% feel that not voting would affect Arab citizens in a negative way, 12% in a positive way, 24% feel it will not affect them at all if they do not vote
    • 46% do not care who the next Prime Minister will be, 35% prefer Amir Peretz, 12% Ehud Olmert, 3% Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sawt il Haq wa il Hurriya: Weekly Islamic-affiliated newspaper

[no election coverage whatsoever]

Fajr il Jadeed: Daily commercial Arabic newspaper

  1. MK Shimon Peres of Kadima said that Israel will unilaterally declare its borders and compel the Arab world to accept it.
  2. Kleiner running as MK for Herut Party had to leave Jaffa in a hurry on Wednesday after Arab residents chased him out for trying to bribe Arab residents into leaving the country as part of their transfer platform.
  3. full-page report on all the parties running for election, their players and platforms.
  4. those who don’t usually vote can have a big impact on the election results this year due to changes that have occurred in the last two years (splits in the Ziojnist parties, Hamas winning the elections, etc.)

Fasl il Maqal: Weekly party-affiliated newspaper

  1. 2 pages of attacks on journalist Lutfi Mashour from al-Sannara
  2. Coverage of the survey that Tele Saaker (Research Institute) conducted which shows that the NDA will get more than 3 seats, the Communist Party 3 seats and the United Arab List more than 2 seats.
  3. Coverage of the survey of Ha’aretz that shows NDA will get 4 seats, the Communist Party 3 seats and United Arab List 2 seats.

Al-Akhbar: Weekly Arabic commercial newspaper

  1. MK Yossi Beilin from Meretz said that they will be part of the next government’s coalition and work hard to undermine MK Lieberman’s transfer plans.
  2. The deputy education minister Mjelli Wehbi cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony for a new school for physically challenged students in Kfar Manda.

Sawt il Balad: Weekly Arabic commercial newspaper

  1. The postponement of the opening of the educational center in Majd al-Kurum.
  2. The NDA published a report of their activities in the Knesset since the last elections.

Please contact us at I’lam should you wish to order a full translation of any of the above articles.

I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel is a non-profit organization based in Nazareth. It was founded in 2000, by a group of Arab journalists and academics. As the only Arab Palestinian media organization in Israel, I’lam is deeply committed to the democratization of media policies, media practices, and the media landscape in Israel.

Related Links

  • Election Backlash:Iraq, Palestine and Israel, Roni Ben Efrat, Challenge magazine (10 May 2006)
  • Israeli Elections: A Vote for Separation, Jonathan Cook (24 March 2006)
  • I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel