Amid a Post-Oct. 7 Backlash, Israel’s Arab Leaders Are Keeping the Peace

Amid a Post-Oct. 7 Backlash, Israel’s Arab Leaders Are Keeping the Peace
Arab Israelis march in a demonstration calling for an end to the war in Gaza, in Deir Hanna, Israel, March 30, 2024 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

The Hamas attack of Oct. 7 and Israel’s invasion of Gaza since then have had a significant impact on Israel’s Arab population. Palestinians have faced a backlash for opposing the war in Gaza, with restrictions placed on both their speech and their ability to organize protests, and some even reportedly losing their jobs for speaking out. Similarly, Palestinian members of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, have been sanctioned for their expressions of opposition to the war.

At the same time, right-wing Israeli extremists like Itamar Ben Gvir, currently serving as minister of national security in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, have tried to incite hatred against the Arab community.

However, one positive outcome of the past seven months has been the ability of Arab political parties and their leaders to skillfully manage the challenging situation in order to prevent tensions from escalating between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens.

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