The Joint Arab List, the alliance of all Arab Knesset factions, essentially decided to boycott the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday.
Party leader Ayman Odeh told Israeli media that while there were certain aspects of Peres’ career that he appreciated, especially in the early years of the “Oslo” peace process, overall Israel’s elder statesman symbolized “tragedy” for his people.
Odeh insisted that the best way he and his party could show respect was to quietly not attend the funeral, since they had nothing positive to say about Peres.
Opposition and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog expressed great frustration with the Arab politicians, given that Peres more than most Israelis sought peaceful reconciliation with the Arabs, both at home and across the region.
“I’m very disappointed in them, it shows that something bad is happening there,” Herzog told Channel 10 news. “It’s not possible that if some people write on Facebook about his intellectual integrity, they are not bound to say something about Peres’s deep partnership with the Arab public in Israel or about his efforts not only for peace but also for equality.”