Report: Barak Considering Apology to Israeli Arabs

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv announcing the establishment of a new political party on June 26. (Flash90)

Ehud Barak, chairperson of the Israel Democratic Party, is considering apologizing to Israeli Arabs for the events of October 2000, a report on Kan News said. The apology would be part of Barak’s attempts to develop better relations and pick up votes from among Israeli Arabs, the report said.

In the wake of the second Intifada, rioting broke out in Israeli Arab communities in October 2000, when Barak was prime minister. He ordered police to respond with force to the rioting, and as a result 13 rioters were killed within a two-week period. Barak has been persona non grata among Israeli Arabs since then, but after conversations with former Meretz head Zehava Gal-on, Barak has come to the conclusion that an apology could help his image among Israeli Arabs, and leftist voters as well.

The apology would be made to Israeli Arabs in general, and specifically to the families of the 13 rioters killed, the report added. In 1997 Barak apologized to Israelis of Middle Eastern origin for the shabby treatment they had received over the years from the Labor Party and the institutions it controlled.

Barak also discussed the issue with current Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz. The two also discussed the possibility that Barak’s party would run jointly with Meretz, the report said. The two decided that if an agreement were reached, the parties would run a poll to determine who should lead the list, depending on which candidate could bring in the most votes.

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