An Arab MK has accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of racism after it emerged that September 4, the date chosen for upcoming elections, falls shortly after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
MK Raleb Majadele (Labor) accused the prime minister of deliberately choosing the election date to hamper Arab political activity before the elections, the News1 website reported on Monday.
On Monday night, Majadele was the only MK to vote against the first reading of the bill to dissolve the Knesset, which was approved 109-1.
Majadele had said for religious reasons he would break party ranks and not vote with Labor in favor of the September 4 date.
Ramadan this year begins around July 20 and ends a month later with the holiday of Eid al-Fitr.The entire period is traditionally a time during which religious Muslims avoid any political activity. As a result, Israel’s Muslim population will have only about two weeks to prepare for the national elections.
Majadele said the prime minister chose the date to neutralize Arab political activity, thereby hampering the left-wing camp.
“The prime minister is putting us at a disadvantage and is not maintaining equal rights in the elections,” Majadele said. “He is taking into consideration the Jews who are having their summer holidays but is not prepared to take into consideration the 13 percent of the population who are in the month of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting. In my opinion it is deliberate.”
Majadele said he had already notified Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich of his intentions and had received a letter from the chairman of the Labor faction in the Knesset, Isaac Herzog, giving him freedom to vote as he pleased regarding the September 4 date.