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27% of Israeli Arabs voted for Zionist parties in recent elections

Maurice Hirsch, Adv. and Itamar Marcus   |

PA slander: Israel is an "apartheid state"; but Israeli Arabs experience real democracy
In Israel's recent elections:

  • 12 Israeli Arabs elected to Israel's Parliament

  • 50% of Israeli Arabs chose to vote

  • At least 112,000 Israeli Arabs (27%) voted for Zionist parties in exclusively Arab cities and towns:

  • 35,783 Israeli-Arabs voted for Meretz

  • 33,453 Israeli-Arabs voted for Blue and White

  • 9,404 Israeli-Arabs voted for Likud

  • 8,268 Israeli-Arabs voted for Shas

  • 6,516 Israeli-Arabs voted for Yisrael Beiteinu

Now that the newly elected Israeli Parliament has been dissolved due to Prime Minister Netanyahu's inability to form a government, Israeli Arabs will again be experiencing the Israeli democracy in the next elections, which are set for September 17, 2019. 

The next elections will once again prove wrong the Palestinian Authority's claim that Israel is an "apartheid state" as Israeli Arabs will be able to exercise their voting rights on equal terms with Israel's Jewish citizens. 

Palestinian Media Watch has taken a look at the statistics from the recent Israeli elections and they prove the existence of a thriving Israeli democracy.

Responding to the results of the Israeli elections held in April this year, PLO Chief Negotiator and Fatah Central Committee member Saeb Erekat, said that the vote shows Israel has a "policy of apartheid and racial segregation": 

"The preliminary results of the Israeli elections have clearly showed that the Israeli voters have voted to keep the situation as it is. They have voted to continue the occupation. They have voted to continue the apartheidand the racial segregation. In reality, the competition during the election campaign was over who on the Israeli side could continue the status quo, the policy of apartheid and racial segregation, but at a reduced cost."

Official PA TV News, April 10, 2019

A comparison focusing on the rights of Israeli Arabs compared to the rights of Black South Africans under the Apartheid regime shows that the reality could not be more different. 

Examination of the voting patterns of Israeli Arabs who live in Arab towns and villages shows that an abyss divides between the PA claims about Israel and the reality. The following are some statistics as published by Israel's Central Elections Committee (, accessed 14/4/19);  

  • The Israeli Arab voters who live in exclusively Arab towns  are 13.1% of the entire electorate (829,673 out of 6,335,387)
  • 49.6 % of these Israeli Arabs (411,437 people) chose to vote.
  • 27.2% of these Israeli Arab voters (112,034 people) voted for Zionist parties:
  • 8.69% (35,783 people) voted for Meretz - considered to be a left wing party - headed by Tamar Zandberg;
  • 8.1% (33,453 people) voted for Blue and White - considered to be a left-centrist party but also includes right wing candidates such as past Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon - headed by past IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz;
  • 2.29% (9,404 people) voted for Likud - considered to be a right wing party - headed by Benjamin Netanyahu;
  • 2.25% (9,243 people) voted for Kulanu - considered to be a right wing party - headed by Moshe Kahlon;
  • 2% (8,268 people) voted for the Shas party - a Sephardi Jewish Orthodox party considered to be a right wing party - headed by Aryeh Deri
  • 1.58% (6,516 people) voted for Yisrael Beteinu - considered to be a right wing party - headed by Avigdor Liberman;
  • 1.37% (5,539 people) voted for Labor - considered to be a left wing party - headed by Avi Gabai;
  • 0.59% (2,449 people) voted of Gesher, Magen, Zehut and Ya'adut Ha'torah;
  • 0.32% (1,379 people) voted for the Joint Right Parties and the New Right - right wing parties that actively promoted Israel's annexation of Judea and Samaria.

The actual number of Israeli Arabs who participated in the voting and who voted for Zionist parties is actually much higher. Many Israeli Arabs live in mixed Jewish- Arab cities, such as Haifa, Lod and Jerusalem. It is impossible to determine which parties these Israeli Arabs voted for because balloting is secret and Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs in mixed cities use the same polling stations.

Saeb Erekat was not the only Palestinian to falsely slander Israel as apartheid. WAFA the official PA news agency headlined its article: "PLO on Israeli elections: Israelis voted no to peace, yes to apartheid," and Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member, responded that "Israelis chose to entrench and expand apartheid." [WAFA English edition (official PA news agency), April 10, 2019]. Similar demonization appeared in the official PA daily editorial:  "It is almost certain that the next Israeli government will bring nothing but more racist extremism." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 11, 2019]
And the official PA daily also ran a cartoon showing that through the ballot box Netanyahu was destroying peace. 

 In summary, while the Palestinian Authority continues to demonize Israel using terms such as "racist" and "apartheid", Israeli Arabs are living democracy and by their actions refuting the PA message. They have the right to vote and Israel, 50% chose to exercise that right, and 27% of the Arabs in exclusively Arab cities even voted for Zionist parties. In addition 10 Israeli Arabs, were elected to Israel's Parliament in exclusively Arab parties (receiving 350,000 votes) and an additional two Israeli Arabs were elected to the Knesset as part of the Zionist parties.

Finally, it is ironic that the PA whose population lives under a de facto dictatorship which has not held elections in 14 years, and will not hold elections in the foreseeable future, chooses to criticize Israel's thriving democracy.

The following are longer excerpts from the above articles:

Excerpt of an editorial by the official PA daily

Headline: "There is nothing new except for the extremism"
"What future have the Israelis chosen in the elections held two days ago [April 9, 2019], in which there were not many slips for peace in the ballot boxes? The Israeli extremism on both sides - the racist right-wing and the military establishment's left - won. It is almost certain that the next Israeli government will bring nothing but more racist extremism."

Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 11, 2019

Headline: "PLO on Israeli elections: Israelis voted no to peace, yes to apartheid" 

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials said today in reaction to the results of the Israeli elections that Israelis have voted no to peace and yes to apartheid.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that after Israeli voters have chosen their representatives, "regrettably, Israelis overwhelmingly voted for candidates that are unequivocally committed to entrenching the status quo of oppression, occupation, annexation and dispossession in Palestine and escalating the assault on Palestinian national and human rights. They have chosen an overwhelmingly rightwing, Xenophobic and anti-Palestinian parliament to represent them. Israelis chose to entrench and expand apartheid."
Ashrawi said in a statement that the "extremist and militaristic agenda, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has been emboldened by the Trump administration's reckless policies and blind support. This cynical alliance against Palestinian rights and the standing of the rules-based international order remains unchallenged by the rest of the international community, thereby reinforcing the rightist and populist agendas. "
She added: "The Palestinian people will overcome this dark and highly dangerous chapter and remain deeply rooted in our homeland. We are a resilient people and we will persist and forge alliances with like-minded and responsible international actors to create a counterbalance to the dangerous and reckless agenda and its adherence among other racist and fundamentalist governments, particularly in Israel."
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the PLO's Executive Committee, said in a tweet last night that the Israelis have voted no to peace.
"What the early results suggest is that Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo. They have said no to peace and yes to the occupation."
He added, "The fact that only 14 out of 120 elected members of the Israeli parliament support the two-state solution on the 1967 borders."

WAFA English edition (official PA news agency), April 10, 2019