The Deputy leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, said on Tuesday that Arab representation in the Knesset is no more than a decoration for the occupation state. Al-Khatib added that he expected to see a sharp decline in the turnout of Arab citizens at election time in the future, "As Arabs are getting more aware of the reality of Israel."
On Tuesday morning, the polling stations opened to allow Israelis to vote in the General Election to choose the 25th Knesset amidst fierce competition between the Likud and Yesh Atid parties. While Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for Arab citizens to vote for him, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid asked the Arabs to consider that if they did not want to vote for his party, they should at least not vote for Netanyahu.
Pre-election opinion polls predicted a 50 per cent Arab turnout in the election, but Al-Khatib expected a lower level. "Our decision has been clear for 74 years," he told Safa news agency. "We are against nominations and voting, yet for 74 years, the age of the Israeli institution, Arab parties have been participating in the Knesset, but things gone from bad to worse."
The Islamic Movement leader explained that the Islamists within Israel, the nationalists and all Arabs who are angry with the participation of the Arab parties in the Israeli parliament do not vote in elections. "Israel is eager to see Arab representation in the Knesset so that it will look like a democratic state that respects non-Jews. However, this is absolutely wrong. The Knesset is the house of Jewish legislation and it is the place where the lawmakers enact anti-Palestinian laws."
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