(What a pity that more Arab Israeli citizens are not prepared to speak their minds like this headmaster)
Nael Zoabi, principal of the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school
and an activist for Jewish-Arab coexistence. Photo: Mida.
The Arab-Israeli leadership prefers investing energy in and siding with Palestinian nationalism to confronting the internal problems of the sector it is supposed to represent, said Nael Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli school principal in the north of the Israel.
In an extensive interview with a Hebrew newspaper, Zoabi — part of the large clan that includes controversial MK Haneen Zoabi of Mavi Marmara fame — insisted that many, if not most, Arabs in the Jewish state would like to work on peaceful coexistence and in bettering their societal standing. But, he asserted harshly, “Their voices are stolen from them” by their own Knesset representatives.
Zoabi bemoaned the fact that his philosophy of education at his school is antithetical to what the Arab politicians are preaching, accusing them of seeking “higher ratings.”
“I meet with Arab and Jewish youth, religious and secular; I speak at home gatherings. Jews from the Diaspora come to visit me, and I introduce them to our people. I raise the issue of coexistence at every opportunity at the school, and write op-eds for Israeli newspapers. I came to educate the kids at the school to be good people and citizens, and not just any citizens, but effective ones. We don’t have another state or country — not us and not you,” he told interviewer.
Slamming the Arab politicians in Israel for what he considers their shameful behavior (i.e. failing to condemn terrorist attacks against Jews and visiting the families of slain Palestinian terrorists), Zoabi said, “I won’t allow people like that to stain my reputation or that of my family or my religion [Islam]. More and more people from the Arab sector are distancing themselves from the ideas and actions of the politicians, who do not represent us,” he said. “They are feeding our public with lies.
The leaders are selling the [false story] that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger and that Jews want to attack it. This is unacceptable to me. The state of Israel does not want to do such a thing, and if there were an extremist even considering it, the state would know how to handle him. I trust in [Israel].”
According to the newspaper, Zoabi said that though he has criticism of Israel, everything begins within the Arab sector internally. “We want leaders who worry about their public,” he said. “There are serious problems in our sector – relating to education, housing, employment, academic studies, violence and other issues.”
But, he asked rhetorically and then answered, “Who is addressing this? Nobody. The only issues our leaders concern themselves with are anti-Israel ones.”