Israelis Split on Boycott of Umm el-Faham

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israelis are split over whether or not to lop Umm el-Faham off “Israel proper” and transfer it to the Palestinian Authority, according to a poll taken by Panorama Marketing on behalf of Yisrael Beytenu. According to the poll, 41.9 percent of Israelis are opposed to the idea of boycotting the Arabs of Wadi Ara, while 40.9 percent are in favor. The rest couldn’t decide.

In an interview earlier in December, Yisrael Beytenu head Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Israelis to “boycott Umm el-Faham” and “make clear to residents of Wadi Ara that they are not wanted here.”

Liberman made the comments in the wake of weekend rioting in Wadi Ara, the largely Arab area in northern Israel where three people on a bus were injured by rock-throwing Arabs in demonstrations against the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump that he recognized Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.

Hundreds of Arabs demonstrated on Road 65, which runs through Wadi Ara, throwing rocks and stones at vehicles. Rioters targeted a bus in a rock attack, injuring a driver and two passengers. Rioters also blocked the road for several minutes. Smaller demonstrations took place in the Israeli Arab communities of Majd al-Krum, Taibe, Kafr Kana, and in Haifa. United Arab List MKs participated in several of the demonstrations.

“I have seen many Palestinian flags there, but I never saw an Israeli flag,” Liberman said of Wadi Ara. “With that level of hate and incitement, they belong under the control of Ramallah. I call on all Israeli citizens to boycott them. Do not enter their stores, do not buy from them. We must make them feel unwanted.”

Liberman has long sought to separate Wadi Ara from Israel proper. Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu has promoted a peace plan that would see Israel annex Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron, in exchange for a land swap – that would see Umm el-Faham and other Wadi Ara communities, which border Palestinian Authority controlled areas, be transferred to the PA. The plan would not entail removing anyone from their homes, but rather moving the security fence that runs east of Umm el-Faham and other communities to the west side of town.

The poll also asked voters how they would vote if elections were held now. The poll showed the Likud getting 24 seats in new elections, followed by Yesh Atid with 19, Zionist Camp with 17, the United Arab List with 13, Jewish Home with 10, Yisrael Beytenu with 9, United Torah Judaism with 8, Kulanu and Meretz with 7 each, and Shas with 6.