Israeli PM regrets offending Arab-Israelis during poll

Benjamin Netanyahu says he regrets warning "the Arabs are voting in droves" during last week's election campaign.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he regrets remarks he made during last week's national election offending Arab-Israelis.

    Netanyahu drew accusations of racism in Israel when he warned that "the Arabs are voting in droves," just a few hours before polling stations were to close across the country.

    "Right wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left wing organisations are bringing them in buses," Netanyahu said in a video statement posted on his Facebook page.

    Netanyahu, whose Likud Party won re-election in the vote, met with members of the Arab community in Jerusalem on Monday and accepted that his comments offended members of the community.

    He said he knew his "comments last week offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli-Arab community," before adding, "this was never my intent. I regret this."

    The White House issued a strong rebuke of his comments, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying the US was "deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalise Arab-Israeli citizens".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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