It's time to tell the simple truth, to lay the cards on the table: The coming elections, the ones which are so crucial to the future of the People and State of Israel, will be decided by - Arabs.
The polls show that Netanyahu is leading Peres within the Jewish population. The fact that Peres has a slight edge overall is due only to the Arab vote. As far as the Knesset elections go, it is generally agreed that the left and right blocs within Israel are basically equal; the ones that will determine the makeup of the coalition will be the Arabs. Ahmed Tibi, official Arafat advisor, said it quite clearly this week at the founding session of his new political party: "We, the Arabs, will determine the next Prime Minister of Israel" - and he's right. Interestingly, he said this in the town of Taibe, where only a few days before, hundreds of excited soccer fans yelled, "Death to the Jews! Long live Yichye Ayash!"
This, my friends, is the situation. The fate of the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish People, the outgrowth of 2000 years of longings, prayers, and exile, will be determined by Arabs, including many outspoken anti-Semites. I'm not referring, of course, to Druse or Bedouin, who participate with us in the defense of the country, and who therefore share the benefits of good citizenship. I'm referring to Jew-haters, terrorist-sympathizers, and advisors to murderers, who, with the support of Hamas and the PLO, will undoubtedly receive 6-8 Knesset seats. There is no doubt that if Peres is elected, it will be due to the influence of the PLO, Hamas, and the Islamic movement. Think about that for a moment.
Even more paradoxical is that despite all the talk about democracy, and despite the fact that the Arab MK's will be elected democratically, they will be prevented from serving on Knesset committees that deal with sensitive security issues, such as the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. This has been the policy of every government since the establishment of the State of Israel, including the present Labor-Meretz-Arab one. What type of hypocrisy is it that will preach all day about democracy, while preventing certain people from serving on certain committees, simply because of their Arab extraction?
My friends, the State of Israel will very soon have to decide an important question on the cultural/spiritual plane: Is this a Jewish state, or not? And from a political standpoint, Israel will have to decide who is to determine the fate of this nation - will it be decided by Jews, descendants of hundreds of years of sacrifice and total dedication to Judaism, or will it be decided by Arabs, descendants of those who for generations have wished to destroy us?
Given the delicate situation which we are in - surrounded by enemies from within and from without - can we allow ourselves to adopt the broadest definitions of democracy? These are precisely the questions that stand before us, and they cannot be ignored. Never before in history has a nation arisen that would deliver its own fate - "democratically," of course - into the hands of another nation, one who openly declares its enmity towards it. Yet that is exactly what we are doing. Arab citizens who can't even sing the country's national anthem - "the Jewish soul yearns../... to be a free nation in our own land../..." (they're referring to t h e i r nation in o u r land) - will decide our Prime Minister and our government's policies. Though it is hard to believe, we have given them this strength.
Friday was the 9th day of Nisan, the 27th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Aryeh Levin, of blessed memory, about whom the book A TZADIK IN OUR TIME was written. He was a true lover of Israel, the "rabbi of the prisoners," the "rabbi of the soldiers," one of the great men of our generation. From Reb Aryeh we learned love of Torah and love of man; we learned from him what is kindness, what is truth, what is sensitivity. And we also learned from him what is Jewish pride. With G-d's help, by his light and with the inspiration of his memory, we will yet merit - despite our difficult situation of "the sea in front of us, and the Egyptians [chasing from] behind" - to leave our difficulties behind, and arise strengthened "with a high hand", with pride, and with great faith, to sing the Song of Redemption.
Avi Rath is the director of Shevut Yehuda Institute for Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan University and the editor and host of several popular programs on Arutz-7 National Radio.