Why this feminine Arab lawmaker scares Israelis a lot – Israel Information

The general public at all times wants a witch to burn. For years, then-lawmaker Haneen Zoabi had that doubtful honor. However now she’s retired Israel has rapidly discovered a substitute: Heba Yazbak, who, like Zoabi, is a girl and a member of the Arab nationalist Balad Occasion. Like the previous Knesset member, Yazbak has been hit with a petition to disqualify her from working within the subsequent election on March 2. The request to the Central Elections Committee has gained widespread help: Everybody from the suitable wing to the slightly-to-the-left-of-the-right wing (what’s, unsarcastically, known as “the left wing”) has joined forces in opposition to Yazbak.

There’s little doubt that Yazbak’s social media posts – the idea for the marketing campaign in opposition to her – are disagreeable to Jewish-Israeli ears.


In keeping with the petition filed in opposition to her by Likud lawmaker Ofir Katz on Monday, a Fb put up she shared in 2015 referred to Hezbollah’s Samir Kuntar – who had carried out a lethal assault in Nahariya in 1979 – as a “warrior martyr” after his assassination by Israel. On the similar time, Israelis unhesitatingly eulogized the lately deceased Geula Cohen, whose lengthy profession as a politician started with a stint within the Lehi terror group – or “nationwide liberation group,” relying on who you’re asking.

Representing the Palestinian narrative, Yazbak – like Zoabi earlier than her – doesn’t heed Jewish expectations to make it extra palatable. Yazbak’s problem to the Israeli discourse is amplified by her type: vexingly, she doesn’t give a rattling. Conversely, Joint Listing chief Ayman Odeh manages to elicit sympathy from some Jewish Israelis – valuable few, admittedly, however nonetheless a far cry from his predecessors – whereas veteran Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi garners begrudging respect. Neither Odeh nor Tibi are untouched by vitriol, however criticism of them by no means strays off their politics to focus on their appears or marital standing. Although their “Palestinian-ness” is not any much less vexing, they’re nonetheless card-carrying members of the boys’ membership of Israeli politics, whereas Yazbak – an terrible shrew who gained’t play by their guidelines – is turned away on the door.

MK Heba Yazbak.
Abdallah Shama

The Israeli insecurity the Yazbak affair implies is stupefying: What’s it a couple of novice politician’s Fb posts, questionable as they is perhaps, that makes our generals and right-wingers quake of their boots? Is Israeli democracy that fragile? Or is Israel, the “Jewish and democratic state,” extra Jewish than democratic?


The reply is within the query: Look no additional than the seasonal mass hysteria raised by the specter of a governing coalition that includes the Arab events – in different phrases, the demonization of any partnership with the elected representatives of a fifth of Israel’s inhabitants.

In contrast to Yazbak, many Israeli politicians play an lively position within the decision-making course of that results in civilian deaths – though calls for his or her disqualification are but to be heard. In a rustic that elected Ariel Sharon – the protection minister in the course of the 1982 Sabra and Chatila bloodbath – as prime minister; killed a whole bunch, together with complete households, in navy operations in Gaza; and picked ex-terrorists (Jews, naturally) to go key state workplaces, can anybody truthfully say that Heba Yazbak shouldn’t be allowed to run in March? You don’t need to facet with Yazbak’s ideology to fret in regards to the ramifications without cost speech that her disqualification would entail.

Sniffing a possibility to attain simple political factors, right-wing politicians have picked up the trigger in opposition to Yazbak to reveal their patriotism and unerring dedication to combat evildoers – particularly feminine ones. By leaping on the bandwagon, Kahol Lavan inadvertently supplied a silver lining: If there had been any doubt earlier than, the concept Benny Gantz’s social gathering presents an alternative choice to right-wing rule is unquestionably now uncovered as farcical considering. As for these members of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance who’ve proven their true colours and joined the decision to ban Hazbak, there’s little extra to say.

Former lawmaker Haneen Zoabi.
Oren Ben Hakun

In some way, it’s at all times a comparatively younger girl who will get thrown on the fireplace: Zoabi was 40 when she was first elected to the Knesset, and Yazbak is barely 34. Each dared to precise opinions that, whereas unacceptable to the big majority of Israel’s Jews, are shared by lots of its Palestinian residents. True, male Balad lawmakers get clobbered as nicely, however the position of Mephistopheles is at all times reserved for a lady: It was Zoabi; now it’s Yazbak.

It’s value asking if the left has its personal “witch”: a right-wing girl who serves as a funnel for all its worry, rage and hatred. The prime minister’s spouse, Sara Netanyahu, Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked and Likud’s Miri Regev are all doable candidates. Whereas criticism of their actions and remarks is simply as legit as in Yazbak’s case, there’s little doubt that the animus they activate is tainted with misogyny.

A witch – a girl who doesn’t fall in step with the male orthodoxy – poses a grave menace to the established order, and to the lads who kind and dominate it. Who can say what Yazbak is basically as much as and what arcane powers she instructions: That’s the misogynistic root of the deep-seated worry she evokes. Already suspect as a member of the “enemy individuals,” Yazbak – a younger girl who dares specific unpleasant opinions – turns into the final word adversary. Confronted with this single politician, mighty Israel is possessed by an irrational, atavistic worry – as if the whole Knesset edifice would crumble ought to Yazbak sit within the parliament.


Evidently Israeli Jews’ greatest enemies aren’t the Arabs – the favored goal of politicians eager on their very own political survival – however the Arab girl who dares let her voice be heard.