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Barak`s move enrages Arab Labor members
By Hassan Shaalan
Ynet / Israel News
19 Jan 2011
Defense Minister Ehud Barak`s decision to quit Labor has Arab party members fuming. `This is the greatest shock to the Israeli Left in the State of Israel`s modern history,` said Ar`ara resident Malcham Malcham, who served as an advisor on Arab Affairs to former Minister Ophir Pines-Paz.
`This move has direct implications on the Arab sector. It endangers democracy and bolsters the Israeli Right,` he said.
According to Malcham, Barak `stole a mandate that does not belong to him in order to strengthen the extreme right in Israel.` However, Mancham noted that he still believes in Labor`s values and expressed optimism regarding its future. `Barak`s departure will encourage many people to vote for Labor again, when it will choose to return to its core values.
`In the last primaries (Barak) told me that as far as he is concerned peace and equality are the highest values. I asked him if he has changed, and he said that at his age people do not change. Unfortunately he has not learned and has not changed,` Mancham said, adding that as of now, the Arab sector `does not support Labor.`
Naif A`arda, another Labor member, said he was considering supporting a different party `because we don’t know what is in store for us.`
Khaled Agarbiya, a Labor member from Umm al-Fahm, said Barak`s move `is a blow to all of us, and I`m kind of disappointed.` However, he added, `We must continue fighting until the situation improves.`
Riad Kabha of Barta`a said those who remained in the party will `unite and make every effort to maintain the trust of those who voted for Labor.
`It is unfortunate that us Arabs have no influence and can only sit and wait to see how things develop,` he said. `We are currently in a state of panic.`
Kabha called for the establishment of a `broad leftist front that will serve as a fighting opposition together with the Arab parties and Meretz.`
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