Middle East

Arab League urges Arab Israelis to vote

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man holds his ballot as he votes in the parliamentary election at a polling station in Jerusalem January 22, 2013. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

CAIRO: A senior Arab League official has called on Israel's Arab minority to go out and vote in the Jewish state's parliamentary election, arguing that doing so will foil "racist" plans to force them to leave their homes.

Mohammed Sobeih, who is the pan-Arab organization's assistant secretary general, claims that Tuesday's election will be dominated by the extremist right that he says speaks openly of forcing Arab Israelis to pack up and leave.

His call is unusual for the Cairo-based league, which rarely addresses itself to Arab citizens of Israel. Himself a Palestinian, Sobeih said his Monday call was motivated by fears that underrepresentation of Arabs - about 20 percent of the Israel's population - would allow parliament to adopt "racist" legislation but still look democratic to the world.





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