Aida Touma-Suleiman, a member of the Knesset from the Joint Arab List, spoke to Reshet Bet Radio on Sunday. In the interview, Touma-Suleiman, a Christian Arab, declared that the pre-Messiah process of the Ingathering of the Exiles was complete.
“The Knesset has decided to annihilate democracy and to focus on the Jews,” Touma-Suleiman said in the interview.”There is a problem, an internal and basic conflict, in the definition. As a citizen of Israel, I want to feel equal precisely like every Jew in this country. It is not acceptable that a Jew who chose to live in the United States has a privilege to be an Israeli more than I.”
“But first you have to decide what is a Jew. That is for you to decide.”
In this particular point, Touma-Suleiman was correct. Due to an inability on the lawmakers to agree on a definition of who is a Jew, the Law did not define the term, relying instead on the issue to resolve itself over time.
“I don’t think the Law of Return is necessary. Anyone who wanted to return to Israel has already arrived. Anyone who chose to be in the US or to be French – has chosen. The law is superfluous. It is now time to rethink many things.”
The Law of Return was passed in 1950, giving the right to any Jews from anywhere in the world to come to Israel and to be granted Israeli citizenship. The gathering of the exiles in the land of Israel, became the core idea of the Zionist Movement and the core idea of Israel’s Scroll of Independence. The spiritual inspiration for the Law of return was the Biblical prophesy of an Ingathering of the Exiles which was first stated in the Torah and later in the Prophets.
Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there Hashem your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And Hashem your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers. Deuteronomy 30:4-5
I will be at hand for you—declares Hashem—and I will restore your fortunes. And I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places to which I have banished you—declares Hashem—and I will bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you. Jeremiah 29:14
Touma-Suleiman expressed dismay that, in her opinion, democracy in Israel was in a sad state due to the Nation State Law which specifies the nature of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and the Deal of the Century.
“No one invited us, no one requested for us to join them, no one turned to us. If they do, we will consider it,” Touma-Suleiman said. “We are still in the stage of recommendations and not even the stage of considering recommendations. What we have is the same Blue and White that is for all intents and purposes the same as Likud.”
“As soon as Gantz went to Washington and became enthusiastic about the Deal of the Century, he decided to attack Netanyahu from the right. Gantz has told us many times that he doesn’t want the support [of the Joint Arab List]. Until he realizes that his historic chance to become the prime minister won’t happen without us, we will simply enjoy our victory and that we prevented Netanyahu from gaining a victory.”
Touma-Suleiman noted that even though the Joint Arab List recommended Gantz to President Rivlin to form a coalition government, that did not necessarily mean they would do so again.
“That was a different election, before the Deal of the Century. The ball is now in Gantz’s court if he wants our support. We did our part. We are the only party in the opposition who got stronger in these elections. If there was any party that stopped Netanyahu from getting the mandate, it was us.”
“Netanyahu erased us,” she said. “We are working to make the Joint Arab List a legitimate participant in coalition politics.”
“In any other country there would be an outcry,” Suleiman said. “But what was Gantz’s reaction? Have a glass of water? What did he say yesterday? [The Arab parties] are lepers but you touched them first?”
“We have been taken out of the civil collective of Israel. We were not mentioned by even one word. If that is the definition of a Jewish state, then, yes, I want it to change,” she said.