With You Abu Yair

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Arabic translation:

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We are all with you Abu Yair 

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Any foreigner arriving in Israel before the upcoming March 23 election and spending time in the country’s Arab towns and villages would be stunned by all the love being showered on the local residents by a candidate known as Abu Yair. They might think that he's running with one of the Arab parties, but Hebrew letters spelling out “MaHaL” on the campaign posters mean the Likud party, as he is none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu! (Abu Yair, of course, means, “father of Yair,” a reference to Netanyahu’s eldest son.)

“We’re all with you, Abu Yair!” blare the Arabic-language signs plastered in towns like Rahat and Shfaram. Cars covered with the slogan have been making the rounds in Arab towns and villages. The is a new Arabic-language Facebook page, created in early February, and an Arabic-language jingle (sung by a Jewish artist, for anyone wondering). There are also frequent meetings with Arab leaders and incessant visits to Arab towns and villages by Netanyahu and his retinue as they pitch what they present as a new candidate to Arab voters.

Netanyahu and his party have adopted a new strategy in dealing with the Arab public, rebranding Netanyahu and turning a page on his relationship with the country’s Arab citizens. They hope that Arab voters will forget the old Netanyahu, who frequently incited against them and did everything he could to delegitimize them and boot them out of the political game. He had even said of the Knesset, “Arabs are not part of the equation.”