Barak Kisses Egyptian Reporter, Speaks Arabic on Israeli Election Day
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak embraced an Egyptian reporter, kissing him on the cheek, and spoke a few words of Arabic on Tuesday as he appealed to the nation's Arab population to come out and vote for him, reported AFP.
The Israeli premier had stopped to respond to the television journalist's questions in Arabic after being surprised on the street on election day, but apologized in Arabic that he had forgotten his Egyptian dialect.
He then continued in English, saying he believed he could still beat right-wing rival Ariel Sharon with the help of the Arab community despite opinion polls indicating he will lose, Egyptian television broadcast in Cairo.
He added a couple more words of Arabic, describing Israel as a "state for everyone" (dawla lil-jamiia), before congratulating the Egyptian reporter for his initiative in tracking him down, and embracing him, said the agency.
Israel's minority Arab population have threatened to boycott the election in protest at the killing by Israeli security forces of 13 members of their community during protests in support of the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising.
Barak repeated his regret for the "tragic events" and said he regarded the blood of every Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jew, in the same light.
Barak also apologized for the killings in an exclusive interview with Al Jazira satellite channel on Tuesday.
He described his rival as an extremist, reiterating that he did not step down for former premier Shimon Peres because the latter “would not be good for Israel.”
Barak told the station that he does not believe in polls and voiced optimism about his victory – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)