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Duration: 43:02



Transcript of Israel in Depth podcast with guest Rami Zeedan

Taped 10/09/2020

Dov Waxman: Welcome to Israel in Depth, where scholars, policymakers, and leading experts come to discuss topics about Israel in depth. You're listening to a podcast by the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA. I'm Dov Waxman, the Director of the Nazarian Center and the host of this podcast. Joining me for this episode of Israel in Depth is Rami Zeedan, an assistant professor of Israel Studies at the University of Kansas. He previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley, at the Open University of Israel, at Kinneret College, and at New York University's campus in Tel Aviv. He received his Ph.D. in Israel studies from the University of Haifa in 2013 and was a postdoctoral fellow at NYU. He is the author of two books about Israel's Arab-Palestinian citizens, who constitute roughly 20% of Israel's population. His first book, The Battalion of Arabs: The History of the Minorities' Unit in the IDF from 1948 to 1956, was published in 2015 in Hebrew, which focused on Israel's policies towards Arabs, who were recruited into the Israel Defense Forces during the first decade of the country's history. His second book, published last year by Lexington Books is titled, Arab-Palestinian Society in the Israeli Political System: Integration Versus Segregation in the Twenty-First Century. Given Professor Zeedan's expertise on the Arab minority in Israel, and particularly its political behavior, I've invited him on to Israel in Depth to discuss a very significant event in Israel's history and in the history of its Arab-Palestinian citizens that occurred 20 years ago, in October 2000. The event is known in Hebrew as the "October 2000 events," or in Arabic as the Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa protests. Dr. Zeedan, thank you for joining me on Israel in Depth.

Rami Zeedan: Thank you, Dr. Waxman, and thank you to the Nazarian Center for hosting me.

Dov Waxman: So before we talk about the significance of these events, not every listener to this podcast is probably aware of these events or knows much about them. So perhaps you could begin by telling us a bit about what happened in Israel 20 years ago.

Rami Zeedan: So we're talking about the October events in the year 2000. And the background for those events is many processes that happened in Israel, back in the 90s, when Arab citizens of Israel -- and it's important maybe at the beginning to state that we are talking about the Arab-Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel, of what we call proper Israel, which is within the Green Line. I'm not talking about the Palestinians in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. So those are Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel (who) went through many processes of alienation, and then integration of the State of Israel. And the 90s has been seen by many scholars as the hopeful years, or some others would call that the golden age of their integration in the Israeli society and Israeli political system. Because it was the years when their socio-economic situation was improving, their education was improving, and so on. And during the specifically the Rabin government, from 1992 to 1995, it was those years when the Arab citizens of the State of Israel did see three main things that were happening: their socio-economic situation was dealt by the government, there was a five-year plan to improve their socio-economic situation. The Rabin government was trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the Oslo Accords. So these are the two major things. And on top of that, the Arab Israeli citizens did see their representatives actually making a difference in the Knesset. So these three major things gave the Arab citizens of the State of Israel the feeling that they are actually much more integrated in what we call the Israeli society, the Israeli political system, and all of the things that are associated with it. The Barak government in 1999 fueled those hopes, once again, that there will be one another attempt of a left-wing Labour government that would follow the steps of the Rabin government with the Palestinians and also with improving the socio-economic situation of the Arabs living inside Israel. And also the third point of once again, inviting the Arab representatives, at least the moderates of them, to be included in the political gate. Since all of these three failed to address the Arab citizens of the State of Israel and their demands, it only needed a few simple things as a trigger to fuel these kinds of protests of the Arab citizens against the Israeli government. Unfortunately for them, and I'm sure unfortunately for the State of Israel itself, the police did not deal in a wise way, let's put that as simply as possible, with these demonstrations that at the beginning started, in most cases in a peaceful scenario. But since they were harshly dealt with by the police, things escalated from both sides. Also, the Arabs themselves in many of those Arab localities started to have violent encounters with the police -- and the police started to use excessive force, which at the end resulted in 13 Arab citizens of the State of Israel being killed by their own police. And this is why it is seen by many other scholars, not just by myself, as a really huge turning point in the relations between the Arab citizens of the State of Israel and Jewish, and their Jewish neighbors, and their relations with the state itself.

Dov Waxman: So the trigger then for..So you've described the processes that led up to this and the disappointment that Arab citizens in Israel felt particularly toward the Barak government, after the positive relationship (or relatively positive relationship) with the earlier Labor government -- the Rabin government. So there was this kind of building a sense of frustration, disappointment. And the trigger, of course, came with the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada just a few days, in fact, before these mass protests by Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel took place, the Second Intifada, or what was became what became known as the Second Intifada, or what Palestinians referred to as the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out. And so your understanding of what led to these mass protests by Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, it wasn't...that was maybe the trigger for these protests. But the real cause, the underlying cause of the protests, was their disappointment and their frustration about their status in Israel, in Israeli society, and in Israeli politics.

Rami Zeedan: That is right. So the real cause is what I described in the last few minutes. And there are a few triggers that fueled these protests. It even started a little bit earlier than that, with another trigger that frustrated Arab citizens nearby to Sakhnin, when the Barak government decided to continue confiscation of Arab lands in order to build up a new military camp. So they were expecting something that this government would actually lead to a better situation for the Arabs. And then they see that that exact same government is failing to deliver in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Is failing to deliver with integrating the Arab politicians. Is failing to deliver in improving the socio-economic situation. But on top of all of that, they are continuing the same policies of confiscating lands that are owned privately by Arabs, and this was one of the triggers, at least in regard to Sakhnin for them the protest, or the peaceful protests that started back then. And as you describe in your question, later on, when these protests continued, it was the timing with the Second Intifada that erupted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that fueled back again and influenced those protests inside the State of Israel and made them even more than they started at the beginning.

Dov Waxman: So yes, it wasn't really or merely I sometimes it was depicted in the Israeli media. I was living in Israel at the time, as you know, just purely a kind of solidarity out with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In fact, this was while there was certainly real solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories, it wasn't purely motivated by that solidarity. There were many domestic, or their own considerations and concerns. Now, how widespread were these protests? I mean...you mentioned in certain major (towns) like Sakhnin, certain major Arab towns. How widespread were these protests, and who was participating? Was it just kind of younger people? Or was this really a mass mobilization?

Rami Zeedan: Well, the October 2000 events ended up being protests happening in all parts of Israel, where there are Arab citizens. So it is it was in the Galilee and many of the other Arab localities over there. It was in even in Haifa, mainly the most ones that were covered, were in Nazareth. Were in Umm al-Fahm, and going to the south. Wherever you would touch a place in Israel where you have a considerable Arab population, there were such protests. Obviously, the level of the protests and the violence that was in, in such events, were different and from one place to the other, depending on the local population. If it's only Muslim ones, if it's mixed ones, if it's, for example, in a big city, such as in Haifa, it was a little bit different than some occasions, and so on. Only only among the Druze, if we would look at the entire Arab society if it's Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs, and Arab Druze. Only among the Druze, it was not that present. Among the Druze, we would be witnessing a separate wave that happened a few years later on. Once again, in direct connection to internal policies in relation to confiscation of lands nearby to Mount Carmel, and later on, nearby to Beit Jann and some other places.

Dov Waxman: So this was really in many ways, kind of the largest eruption of mass protests by Arab citizens of Israel, at least since maybe 1976, and the very famous land they protest that have become a core part of the kind of collective memory, if you like, of the Palestinian minority in Israel. And of course, when it comes to the October 2000 events, as you noted, the key feature of this, or in the way it was seen then and is remembered today, was the police's killing of 13 protesters. In the years since, has there been any real explanation for why these killings took place? Has there been any accountability for the deaths of these, I believe, 12 citizens of Israel? What's been the police's response or the Israeli state's response to the fact that you know, a dozen citizens of Israel were shot to death by the Israeli police.

Rami Zeedan: Unfortunately, this event while it was happening, was not dealt with in the correct way by the police, by the Minister of the Interior Security, and by the Prime Minister. But more importantly, it was wrongly dealt with after the events. And so the government did decide to appoint a committee that would investigate the events, would investigate what happened, tried to recommend on policies how to improve the situation, and so on. But it ended up by not having anyone feeling accountable, or being charged, of killing innocent, in most cases, innocent civilians. There was no one case of a police officer that was indicted in the court. The only thing that happened is the Minister of the General Security, who resigned from his position. That's the only political outcome out of that. So this is unfortunate because since that happened, it was supposed to be an opportunity for the state to say, okay, we understand that there were multiple mistakes here and we were going to build on that in order to improve the situation, from now on. It would take the state another decade or so to start actually working on other things that would be satisfying the needs of the Arabs, but still not in a complete way. Maybe we could elaborate on that later on.

Dov Waxman: So there is still then this demand for justice, I suppose, and for accountability now 20 years later by the families of those killed, by the Arab-Palestinian community at large, who feel that, you know, there was not a serious accountability for these deaths. As I understand it, since the events of October 2000, a further 45 Arab citizens have been killed by police in Israel. Do you think this is because, or do Palestinian citizens of Israel think this is because the police are more trigger happy, if you like, with regards to Arab citizens? I mean, we've been having here in the United States, as I'm sure you're well aware of, a conversation about how Black Americans suffer disproportionately at the hands of police. Are more likely to be shot and killed by police in the United States. And of course, this fact has really been at the forefront of national attention, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement. Is there something like that happening in Israel? I mean, are Arab citizens of Israel protesting against police violence, as Black Americans have been doing here in the United States?

Rami Zeedan: Indeed, and this is a good comparison -- and thank you for bringing that to our discussion. So the events of the October 2000 are not one event, but it is a turning point and this is still commemorated until today. Just recently, they announced that they are not going to hold the same ceremonies. But this is because of the coronavirus that is happening in Israel. So this is an exception this year. But usually they do commemorate this event. And this was not the only event. There are multiple occasions throughout Israel's history, at least in the past 20 years, where many Arab citizens were killed by the police. There was just recently the case of Umm al-Hiran, and where another occasion of an Arab was killed by the police with no actual...actually doing something to harm the police. And the discourse that's happening among Arab citizens in Israel, when I follow social media about this, or when I follow what Arab politicians are saying in the Knesset or other occasions, they are actually using the comparison to the Black Lives Matter in the United States and saying that it's actually the same thing. When in the U.S., it is much more easier to be killed by the police if you're a Black American. And in Israel, it's more likely that you would be killed by the police if you're an Arab person. So this comparison is actually being used in order to attack the police and the government and their handling and their policies allowing such things to continue without holding those police officers accountable and the politicians accountable for their decisions.

Dov Waxman: Is there I wonder a similar demand as we've heard over the past summer here in the United States, you know, defund the police. I mean, what is the Arab community asking for? What kinds of reforms might they see? I mean, beyond the question of having individual police officers perhaps held responsible, or tried or at least investigated, are there broader demands that have been made?

Rami Zeedan: I think that the discourse in Israel is put in the context of my recently published book. The context in Israel is not that they are arguing that the problem is within the police. The argument in Israel is trying to establish the saying that the problem is within the entire political system. It comes from the cabinet ministers, from the Prime Minister, it comes from the Knesset, it comes from even the judicial system. All of the political system that is in Israel is made to discriminate against Arabs in Israel. And this reflects on what the police are doing and how the police are handling their encounter with Arabs. So there are not calls in Israel to defund the police because it's a slightly, or maybe more than that, different than it is in the United States. In the United States, you'd see police that is much more local one. At the state level, at the city level or some other government levels here that exist in the United States. While in Israel, it's mainly the state police that is controlled by the central government. This is a huge differentiation from what we know that exists here in the United States. So the focus of the Arab citizens and their demands from the police is that they should be treated in a different way. But more than that, is that the government's attitude, the political system attitude towards the Arabs, in general, should be a different one. So it should be changed.

Dov Waxman: So I want to I want to ask you about that and your book in just a moment. But in just exploring this comparison. Another issue it seems, but a different one in the case of the police's relationship with Arab citizens in Israel, and some of the criticisms that come from the Arab community is, unlike the Black American community is under-policing in Israel, rather than, say, over-policing in the United States. So you know, there are high crime rates, and particularly of violent crime, gun-related shootings that have happened over the last few years in Arab towns and villages, and in places like Jaffa where I lived for a while. And the complaint there, as I understand it, is that the police don't do enough in these communities. They've almost ceded control, or at least, you know, moved out from really trying to police these communities. Is that correct? I mean, that would be very different, very great contrast to the U.S. case where, you know, it's really over-policing that is the issue.

Rami Zeedan: This is an excellent point. In the past, the Israeli government would claim that they don't want to establish police stations, and they want don't want to over police our localities, because they feel that Arabs can take care of themselves. They have their social structures, they have their elders and the respect to the elders, and some other social rules that exist that can actually help them do that. And they do put that in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by saying, okay, we don't want you to feel that we are actually over-policing, as the same as it happened until 1967, when the military government existed over all..most of the Arab majority territories inside Israel. So they wanted to avoid that. And this is the argument that is being made. It was faced by an Arab response that was to some extent, welcoming that. But until the past 10 or 15 years where I am sensing that the discourse among the Arabs themselves is changing drastically. They are in fact inviting the government, inviting the police to be much more involved in order to increase public safety. So there are multiple occasions, for example, in the past few years, when there were killings of women -- Arab women. And there were protests among the Arabs of accusing the police of not to being present there to protect.

Dov Waxman: These are so-called honor killings that take place, typically within a family if the daughter is kind of considered to have somehow dishonored the family.

Rami Zeedan: Exactly. And what I'm sensing from many of those places, is that Arab politicians, Arab leaders, and Arab citizens, at large, are actually much more now denouncing these kind of honor killings, and are asking where is the police to help us. That's not just a matter of education, which they have knowledge that this is a matter of education within the society itself. But they're actually adding to that now of asking: where's the police? Please come here and be much more focusing on these kinds of things of increasing public safety, rather than just being seen as the enemy. And well, this is how they see the major problem in the sense.

Dov Waxman: That's fascinating. So there's really a shift in attitudes in wanting the state to be more involved, if you like, in the internal affairs of the Arab community rather than less involved, which was maybe the preference for some time following that military administration over the first two decades. And now moving in terms of the politics -- another kind of real shift in attitudes, or at least maybe a shift in attitudes is the increasing participation rates of Arab voters in Israeli elections. Historically, or at least, up until the last three elections, the trend line was towards decreasing participation; there was even demands or cause for the boycott of Israeli elections and there was a, you know, a widespread sense that it wasn't worth participating in Israeli elections, or that the kind of Israeli political game was in some sense, rigged against Arab citizens of Israel. But in the last three elections, we've seen turnout go from 49% in the April 2019 election, up to 59% in the September 2019 election and then up to 65% in the March 2020 election. This is the fact that despite having so many elections, you might think people would get fed up with voting. But in fact, turnout has consistently increased and bringing turnout of Arab voters now closer to that of Jewish citizens of Israel. Why do you think..what explains this? Was this just a kind of a unique set of circumstances last year, or is this the new trend of increasing participation, political participation, voting participation? And what does this say then about the willingness of Arab citizens of Israel to participate in the Israeli political system?

Rami Zeedan: So I don't think this is because of the circumstances right now. I think there is a process happening within the Arab society that is reflected in these numbers. We started our conversation by talking about the October 2000 events as a turning point. And it was a turning point also in regard to the political behavior and turnout and to which parties Arab citizens in Israel vote. Following the October 2000, the turnout among Arabs decreased dramatically. More trends of boycotting the elections were at that time being heard, being obeyed by many Arab citizens. Those who are believing in, or not accepting the State of Israel as it is, are becoming in percentage of the population much higher. And the trend was going in the wrong direction as I see it. But what helped to change this route is a few things that are starting to happen among the Israeli Arabs themselves. The people are becoming more educated in multiple of disciplines that were not previously present and they are much more integrated in the economy in places that you would not imagine to have Arab citizens employed in: in the high tech sector; in many places in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The government started a plan in 2006 to include more Arab citizens in the public sector, working as officials within many departments within the government itself. And the formulation of the Joint List in 2015. All of these things joined together to convince more and more Arabs in Israel to believe once again in the system. To give it a chance. And since 2015, we are seeing much more Arabs turning out in the elections. This is true that from that point until today, they are much more voting to the Joint List, which is representing the Arabs; less for the traditional Zionist parties, such as Meretz, the Labor, and other centrist parties. So to them, to some extent, they are being..they are segregating themselves, but within the political system. So the calls for boycotting the elections are not that much heard right now. We're seeing more Arabs believing the system, giving it a chance, and bringing more Arabs to be representatives in the Knesset. So we are...the outcome of that is that the number and the percentage of Arabs being members of the Knesset is the highest ever in 2015, and also right now in 2020. So in that sense, they are being much more integrated, because the people -- the Arab citizens ��want that more and also their representatives (the current ones) are those who are a little bit different than the politicians that existed 15 or 20 years backwards. They are much more wanting of integration. So this is what's happening among the Arabs themselves. The problem is that they are being faced from the other side, from the Jewish Israeli citizens and the Jewish Israeli politicians of pushback. Much more even than it was in the past. So even though they want to become more integrated, they are not being welcomed to be integrated in the Israeli political system.

Dov Waxman: So you mentioned the rise of the Joint List, and this is a coalition of Arab parties really. Four Arab parties which, you know, going against the typical nature where they've long been known for their fractiousness and inability to work together. The Joint List has actually been this very successful union of these four Arab parties led by Ayman Odeh of the Hadash Party, which was once the Jewish Arab Communist Party. And largely thanks to the increased turnout of Arab voters, but also the Joint List has also attracted now some votes from some left wing Jews in places like Tel Aviv. A small number, but it's significant that now even some Jewish Israelis are voting for the Joint List. As a result, you mentioned that it has now reached the highest number of Knesset members in its history. It has now 15 members of the Knesset. And yet, despite that electoral success, the Joint List, thus far at least, hasn't been able to translate its electoral success into political power. In so far as I mean, we can see in the, you know, very protracted drama of trying to form the Israeli coalition government after the last three elections. The leader of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, the chief rival to Prime Minister Netanyahu, you know, toyed with the idea, if you like, of inviting the Joint List, to negotiate to become a member of his coalition government. The Joint List, I believe, significantly (and in an unprecedented manner) expressed its willingness to join an Israeli coalition government, or at least, the Joint List head, Ayman Odeh made that expression. And yet they were spurned, ultimately. Ultimately, Benny Gantz, either was unwilling, or perhaps unable, to invite the Joint List to form a coalition government with him, which was really the only way Gantz could have formed and an alternative government -- a government that didn't include Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party. But he didn't do that. What does that say about the role of Arab parties today in Israeli politics? And do you think that the fact that the Joint List hasn't translated, wasn't invited to join the government, is going to kind of damage or undermine the willingness that you've described this trend of Arab citizens wanting to take part in Israeli politics?

Rami Zeedan: Obviously, it would, it would take a toll on many of the Arabs who all started to believe once again, in the system of the ability of them being able to influence the outcome, influence policies, influence the formation of a government that would go in the direction that they would want it as any other citizens would like his or her own government to do. It would have its consequences. But not that fast that we might think. When the next Israeli elections are going to be held, we still don't know. Obviously, it is maybe going to happen next year -- 2021. But if further than that, there are circumstances at that point and the campaign and how it is going to be dealt with. And if it's going to be done the correct way by the Joint List and by others, it can maintain the same level of give us a chance once again to try that. It's not that these kind of things happen just at once. The problem is that the disappointments has been happening for many years. And I would have liked it for 2020 this year after the March elections, that they would be given a chance to actually join the government. So as you as you mentioned, at least the head of the Joint List expressed his willingness to join the government or at least to support it from the outside as part of of a political bloc, as it was in the Rabin government in 1992 to 1995. But more than that, when they were asked by the president in the recommendations, they did something that was unprecedented. They did recommend on Gantz to be the next prime minister. And that recommendation, at least in March, if we compare that to the previous one in September 2019, did include Balad. And this is a huge development that we...

Dov Waxman: Balad is the Arab nationalist party member of the Joint List. I mean the...

Rami Zeedan: We tend to ignore these fundamental changes that are happening to the Arab population and its representatives, not just the moderate parties among them such as Hadash and maybe�can come...over there. But it's also happening to the party that was once considered as the most extremist amongst Arabs. And this party is not just willing to participate in the game. Not just willing to run for office. Not just willing to invite Arab citizens to vote for elections. To still be part of the Israeli political game. But more than that, they were willing to go the further step of saying, okay, we are willing to participate in the coalition building by saying that, please count our members of the Knesset as those who are recommending Benny Gantz, the former chief of staff of the IDF, to be our next prime minister. This is unprecedented, and it's I think signaling the changes that are happening within the Israeli Arab society and their politicians, all together. So, for me personally, it was so much disappointing to see that Benny Gantz at the end, chose to not try this path, and go with the support ... not just not being part of the government and being given positions as ministers and deputy ministers in the government, he was not willing at all to consider that option. This is, in fact, continuing what I have been trying to establish as an argument ��one of my arguments in my book���that looking at Israel's history from 1949 until today, the problem is actually within the Jewish Israelis; it's not within the Arab citizens of the State of Israel. Maybe in the past, they were part of the problem. But they have changed since then. In the 80s, they have had changed. In the 90s, they moved forward, and then October 2000, they were disappointed, so they move back a little bit from their desire to integrate in the State of Israel. But now they are back again the past few years. All of the surveys that other colleagues of mine are conducting still see that the Arabs in Israel still see themselves as Arabs, as Palestinians. They see their religion as part of their identity. And they still see the Israeli component as part of their identity. They still see the difference between themselves and other Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They still differentiate themselves from the other Palestinians. Recent surveys that we are seeing following, for example, the Trump plan from the January 2020...the Trump plan included the exchange of territories, such as Umm al-Fahm and surrounding Arab localities, that in the future peace deal, they would be included in the Palestinian state. The vast majority of more than 80% of those Arabs said to the, to the surveys that they refuse to become part of the Palestinian state. And these are the Arabs that are considered to be the most extremist in Umm al-Fahm and surrounding areas. And this is I think it's telling of their desire to be really integrated in the State of Israel. They just need to be invited to do so by the Jewish Israelis and their leaders.

Dov Waxman: So I saved my final question then, if there is on...you've described this kind of positive trend toward a growing support for integration into Israeli society and politics among Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. Integration, I should point out not based upon a denial of their Palestinian identity, but rather one which acknowledges their Palestinian identity alongside their Israeli and Arab Israeli identities. And you see, then that this trend is continuing despite these recent setbacks. Are you hopeful with regards to the other side with regard to Jewish Israeli society, that..Arabs will eventually be accepted as full and equal members of Israeli society and politics? I mean, we've seen that in the economic sphere, at least, I think, a shift in attitudes by Jewish Israelis -- a recognition that you need to have Arabs involved in the labor force, including Arab women. You need to have them involved in the high-tech sector. You need to increase education, especially higher education. So as economically at least, I think there is a recognition, including by right-wing Israelis, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu that, you know, that it's necessary for Israel's economic well-being and success. But not so much when it comes to politics. When it comes to politics, there is this reluctance to fully recognize Arab citizens as equal partners. Are you hopeful if you look to the future, and based upon your knowledge of the trends. Are you hopeful that might change and that just as Arab citizens of Israel have become increasingly willing to integrate and to participate in Israeli society and politics, so to Israeli Jews will...are and will become more willing to welcome them as equal members, or are you pessimistic about that?

Rami Zeedan:

In regard to the economy, education and whatever other sector you want to discuss, I do see the trends going from both sides of, of Arab's being welcomed to integrate, and Arabs wanting to become more integrated. And all of these are places that they weren't present in the past. So this is a good, good sign for the future of Israel. However, I am not that that optimistic in terms of politics. What I'm seeing is the exact opposite of that trend. The Israeli political system is moving more and more to the right wing. It's not by coincidence that the right-wing parties are winning again and again in Israel's elections. And we just saw what happened to...with the recent government in their passing of the nation-state basic law

Dov Waxman: in 2018

Rami Zeedan: 2018. So despite all of the wishes from the Arabs to become more integrated, the Israeli Jewish politicians (mainly from the right wing, but also from the center) are pushing to make sure that Arabs know their place in Israel's society. You are welcomed to become integrated in terms of the economy, you are welcome to ask for as much as possible individual rights. But in terms of representation, in terms of group rights, and so on, this is not something that we are wanting to give you. And when I look at surveys of the Jewish Israelis following this nation-state basic law, I see that the vast majority actually agree with it. So they keep voting for the Likud for those right-wing parties. And when we look at the center parties, and some of the left we see the same exact trends. So when I was looking at the previous Labor leader, Isaac Herzog, and Gabbay and others, they're doing the same. And now, Gantz is doing actually the same so what's the difference? If it's from the left and go to the center and to the right. One of the things that I can do that is that even the moderates among Arab politicians have been recently kicked out of Zionist parties, even from Meretz and from the Labor. Zouheir Bahloul from the Labour, really one that every Jewish Israeli actually knows from his media coverage of sports in Israel and someone who was calling all of his life for Jewish-Arab good relations in Israel, and he was kicked out of the Labor. A member of the Knesset, Issawi Frej, from Meretz was not just because he's an Arab. He's also a very successful Arab member of the Knesset. And he was kicked out by Meretz. So what we expect from the right wing if this is what the left wing is doing. And this is unfortunate for Israel, and I don't think that in the current political climate, there is a chance for real change among the Jewish Israelis and their representatives in the government. But I am still hopeful, maybe in the future, and coming few years and a decade or so maybe things will be different. And I just hope that we do not need -- another round of protests and killing of people, of innocent people, to make sure that we understand that there is a problem. Maybe we don't need all of that. We are much better than this. And we can understand how to improve the lives of all Israeli citizens and make sure that we have both Israelis as Jews and Israeli Arabs have the right way of living together, and have Israel prosper for its upcoming few decades or centuries to come.

Dov Waxman: Well, thank you. I think that's a very fitting note to end this very stimulating conversation. Dr. Zeedan, I want to thank you for joining me on this program. It's been a fascinating conversation. And to all the listeners out there, you've been listening to an episode of Israel in Depth, produced by the UCLA Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Thank you for listening and join us again.

Rami Zeedan: Thank you.