A Likud campaign ad in Arabic depicts Arab MKs as slackers and layabouts, while asserting that the party has done far more for the Arab public in Israel.
In the video, Knesset members from the Joint List are seen sipping coffee, playing chess and buying produce, as a narrator says: “While Arab Knesset members drink coffee, play chess and buy groceries for home, the Likud government has provided NIS 15 billion (roughly $4.4 billion) in funding for the Arab public.”
A Likud Facebook post with the video added: “What has the [Joint List] done? Nothing. Until the Likud government earmarked NIS 15 billion for Arab development, the construction of 18 police stations, doubling the number of Arab students in Israeli universities and integrating Arab workers in the world.”
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh responded: “There is only one politician who is about to get a lot of free time to play backgammon and that is the defendant Benjamin Netanyahu.” He was referencing the prime minister’s recent indictment in three criminal cases.
ماذا فعلت القائمة المشتركة للوسط العربي؟لا شيء بالوقت الذي به حكومة الليكود خصصت 15 مليار شاقل لتطوير الوسط العربي، إقامة 18 مركز شرطة، ضاعفت عدد الطلاب العرب بالجامعات الإسرائيلية ودمج عمال عرب بالهايتك!
פורסם על ידי מפלגת הליכוד ב- יום חמישי, 13 בפברואר 2020
Likud has generally been seen as antagonistic towards the Arab public, with the party and Netanyahu often demonizing the Joint List as a Knesset boogeyman in its messaging to the Jewish public.
Netanyahu also infamously warned during the 2015 election of high voter turnout in the Arab sector in a bid to increase voter turnout among Likud supporters.
“The rule of the right is in danger, Arab voters are coming in droves to the ballot boxes,” Netanyahu declared in a video then. “Left-wing NGOs are bringing them in buses.”
His comments were widely condemned in Israel and abroad, and he later apologized for them.
Israel’s Arabs have also been outraged by the 2018 Jewish nation-state law led by Netanyahu and his party, which defined Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people while not specifying equal rights for all Israeli citizens.
And in the April 2019 election Likud equipped some 1,200 representatives in Arab towns with hidden cameras to monitor poling stations, leading to a rebuke by the Central Elections Committee. In September Likud was thwarted in a legislation bid to allow cameras at polling stations. The party asserted that cameras were necessary to prevent voter fraud, which it has alleged is rampant in Arab communities.
Critics have said it was an attempt to create confrontation and suppress the Arab vote.