by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Palestinians and their allies have justified and even celebrated Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in Israel as a blow against Jewish oppression. But the 2 million Arab citizens of Israel have overwhelmingly responded by drawing closer to the Jewish state.
Among Arab Israelis, prominent media personalities have helped lead an unprecedented surge in support for their country and opposition to their self-proclaimed liberator Hamas. Pro-Israel arguments that were previously almost unspeakable in the Arab mainstream have in recent weeks gotten a respectful hearing.
Yoseph Haddad, a 38-year-old Christian Arab influencer, has skyrocketed to fame in Israel with his outspoken advocacy for the country in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Haddad told CNN on Oct. 22 that Hamas’s attack was a wakeup call for the Arabs who constitute about 20 percent of Israel’s population.
“We literally felt that Hamas could have conquered the south and then the center and also the north of Israel, where the majority of Arab Israelis are staying, and we had a very bad feeling about it,” said Haddad, who has more than 1.5 million followers across social media. “Immediately my friends and colleagues here said, ‘That’s the last thing that we want. We don’t want to live under a terrorist organization. We want to live in a democracy, and that’s what the state of Israel is.’”
In this way, at least, Hamas’ barbarity on Oct. 7—killing and abducting hundreds of civilians, including dozens of Arab Israelis — has strengthened Israel and weakened those who accuse the country of apartheid or genocide.
“It’s astonishing that around the world, some prominent Jews have condemned Israel for its self-defensive reaction to terrorism,” Nimrod Nir, a social scientist and pollster at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the Washington Free Beacon. “But here in Israel, the vast majority of Arab citizens legitimize the country’s response.”