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Saturday, September 07, 2019 

Meretz loses a Druze candidate who's troubled by their joint list with Ehud Barak

A Druze candidate running on the Meretz list has quit the party because of their joining with Ehud Barak:
A Druze lawmaker resigned from the left-wing Democratic Camp party this week, saying that the faction was not taking him seriously and that the Arab community would not support the party because of its resentment toward former premier Ehud Barak.

Ali Salalha, from the village of Beit Jann, said on Tuesday that he saved the Meretz party in the previous elections in April, and was frustrated with his low placement on the Democratic Camp’s slate, Haaretz reported on Saturday. He said that the Arab votes he brought to Meretz in April pushed the party across the electoral threshold.

The Democratic Camp is a union between the left-wing Meretz party, MK Stav Shaffir, formerly of Labor, and former prime minister Ehud Barak.

The party is expected to win 6-7 seats, and with Salalha in the 20th spot on its slate, he does not realistically have a chance of making it into the 120-member Knesset.
It's not certain they'll win even that much, if more voters leave them over their alliance with a man who associated with Jeffrey Epstein and may have been involved in disturbing activities at his estates.
“These people don’t take Ali Salalha seriously,” he said in frustration over his low placement. “All of a sudden you’re giving up on the media star of the last election? On the legendary educator that brought the Druze educational system to first place?”

Salalha is an award-winning educational director in Beit Jann, Haaretz reported.

He won fifth place on Meretz’s electoral slate in internal elections for the last national vote. The Democratic Camp is headed by Meretz’s Nitzan Horowitz.

Salalha reportedly believes that the Democratic Camp would lose the Arab vote because of the community’s resentment toward Barak. In October 2000 at the start of the Second Intifada, while Barak was prime minister, police killed 13 Arab Israeli protesters. Barak has since apologized and expressed regret for the deaths.

“When Meretz held negotiations with Ehud Barak, they didn’t take me into account,” Salalha was quoted as saying. “Did you all go crazy? I brought you tens of thousands of Druze. Who did the Druze vote for before? For the right. For Likud, for Liberman, for Shas. I brought them with me and you put me at 20th place?”

“We, the Druze, have no problem with Barak. The Arabs do,” Salalha said. “[Arabs] voted for us when I was with Meretz. After Barak landed on us, I hear Arabs saying ‘we’re not going with Barak.’
And some other members of the public may not either because, again, he was chummy with Epstein. It's also clear many Arabic residents haven't excused Barak for what happened in late 2000, so that could cost the party votes, and the resignation of their Druze candidate from the parliamentary list also doesn't look good for them so close to election day.

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