Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with mayor of the city of Nazareth Ali Salam in 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO) Haim Zach/GPO
Netanyahu Ali Salam

“There is no leader like you in the whole country who can give not only to the Arabs and not only to the Jews,” said Mayor of Nazareth Ali Salam.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Ali Salam, the Mayor of Nazareth, announced Wednesday that he supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that “there is no one like [him].”

He made the statement during Netanyahu’s visit to a Clalit Health Services clinic in Nazareth where an operation to inoculate the population against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“What the prime minister did, no one did. We ​​have never had it so good as now. If it was not for you taking care of the corona, I do not know what we would do,” he declared.

“I promise you that we will support you to continue to give. There is no leader like you in the whole country who can give not only to the Arabs and not only to the Jews,” he added, disparaging the Arab-majority Joint List party that “has done nothing, the whole of Arab society is disappointed with their attitude and work.”

Demonstrators, including several members of the Joint List, protested against Netanyahu’s visit, but Salam said he does not “see them or count them,” asking them to “say that we want peace and want good for the Arab society.”

Netanyahu called on the Israeli Arabs to “fully participate in the success story called the State of Israel.”

“Anyone who thinks we remembered the Arabs just before the election is lying or does not know the facts. I have invested in the Arab sector more than all the governments of Israel combined – in the entire history of the country,” he declared.

The demonstrations of the Joint List “are a sign of despair. They have reason to despair. They, too, see the growing support for me and the Likud among Arab society,” he said.

“If Jews and Arabs can dance together in the streets of Dubai, they can dance together in the State of Israel as well. A new era begins today – of prosperity, integration and security,” he said.

Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said that Salam’s statements are “further proof that we were right in our claim that the Joint List does not serve the Arab citizens of Israel, but mainly encourages polarization between Jews and Arabs.”

“The violent demonstrations today are the result of ongoing incitement on their part out of an improper approach so that they will gain support in the sector. Their decline in the polls is due to the awakening of the Arab society,” he said.

The latest polls show that the Joint List stands to lose about a third of its power in the Knesset and will drop from 15 to 10 seats.

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