Arab Israelis must ‘vote in droves’ to defeat racism

Updated 22 January 2013
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Arab Israelis must ‘vote in droves’ to defeat racism

The Arab League urged Arab Israelis to stage a massive turnout in the Jewish state’s legislative elections today, in a statement yesterday.
“The League calls on Arab citizens of Israel to turn out in droves for the elections so they are represented (in Parliament) and can oppose racist laws” that could be voted on in the Knesset, it said.
The pan-Arab body also expressed its concern over the likelihood of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition retaining a strong majority.
It said there were “initial indications” that most seats would go to the far right, who “do not want peace” with the Palestinians, pointing toward Netanyahu’s opposition to evacuating Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.
Arab Israelis — Palestinians who stayed on after the creation of Israel in 1948, and their descendants — make up around one-fifth of Israel’s population. They “must be represented in that proportion” in the Knesset, the Arab League said. Arab MPs should “oppose all (laws passing through Parliament) that go against international law or against justice and democracy,” it added.
Less than half of Israel’s Arabs, meanwhile, are expected to vote today, in what pundits say could be their lowest-ever turnout.
Despite calls from all sides for them to get out and vote, many feel disenfranchised in reality, and are increasingly fed up with being excluded from political decision-making, which has for four years been dominated by right-wing nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties.


Egyptian president El-Sisi offers sympathy after heavy rains

Updated 34 min 41 sec ago
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Egyptian president El-Sisi offers sympathy after heavy rains

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has expressed sympathy with people affected by the rare heavy rains over the past two days.
The downpour had caused flash floods on the streets, leaving parts of the capital, Cairo, and other parts of Egypt impassable.
Footage on social media showed floods, leaky ceilings and parked cars completely submerged in water.
On Thursday, El-Sisi sought to reassure people that measures would be taken to prevent this from recurring.
He said on his Twitter account: “I understand completely the suffering of some Egyptians due to the sudden and unusual rainfall.”
El-Sisi added that he confirms the state and Egyptian authorities will “intensify their efforts to prevent such incidents from recurring.”
Egypt’s Meteorological Authority Ahmed Abdel-Al says the weather is expected to improve by Friday.