Arab League official urges Arab Israelis to vote

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    An Arab Israeli woman casts her vote during legislative elections in the town of Tira, central Israel,Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Israelis began trickling into polling stations Tuesday morning to cast their votes in a parliamentary election expected to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to office despite years of stalled peacemaking with the Palestinians and mounting economic troubles. Polls indicate about a dozen of 32 parties competing in Tuesday's election have a chance of winning seats in the 120-member parliament. Most parties fall either into the right-wing-religious or center-left camp, and surveys indicate hard-line and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties will command a majority. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    An Arab Israeli woman casts her vote during legislative elections in the town of Tira, central Israel,Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Israelis began trickling into polling stations Tuesday morning to cast their votes in a parliamentary election expected to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to office despite years of stalled peacemaking with the Palestinians and mounting economic troubles. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)


    A senior Arab League official has called on Israel’s Arab minority to go out and vote in the Jewish state’s parliamentary election, arguing that doing so will foil “racist” plans to force them to leave their homes.

    Mohammed Sobeih, who is the pan-Arab organization’s assistant secretary general, claims that Tuesday’s election will be dominated by the extremist right that he says speaks openly of forcing Arab Israelis to pack up and leave.

    His call is unusual for the Cairo-based league, which rarely addresses itself to Arab citizens of Israel. Himself a Palestinian, Sobeih said his Monday call was motivated by fears that underrepresentation of Arabs — about 20 percent of the Israel’s population — would allow parliament to adopt “racist” legislation but still look democratic to the world.


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