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In first, Arab to run in Beersheba municipal elections

Sept. 4, 2013 7:03 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 5, 2013 4:39 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) – For the first time since the creation of Israel, an Arab man will stand for municipal elections in Beersheba scheduled on Oct. 22.

Amir Zreiq, an Arab lawyer from Beersheba, will be the second candidate on the Change 2013 list.

Asked about the motives behind his decision, Zreiq said he was afraid the Arabs in Beersheba did not have a cultural or an educational center because they have never been represented in the municipal council.

“I met two years ago with the mayor Ruvik Danilovich in my capacity as an activist who organizes theater performances and educational activities for the Arabs in Beersheba. I asked him to allow us to use a public hall once a month for two hours and he immediately asked, ‘Who are you? You don’t have a representative in the municipal council, nor do you have an organization or a foundation to represent you.”

These words, added Zreiq, marked an opening for him and “since then I decided that Arabs should be represented in the municipal council of Beersheba.”

About 20,000 Arabs live in Beersheba constituting 10 percent of the population and they have never been represented in the municipal council. Some 8,000 people have the right to vote.

“We can change the face of this generation through helping the weakest groups both in the Arab and the Jewish communities. Our principle is working together hand in hand for the benefit of these groups,” he said.

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