With national elections next week: Bedouin village backs Netanyahu; Fake news plagues candidates

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A small Bedouin village situated in the Galilee seems an unlikely place to be a Likud stronghold. But an unofficial poll by the Times of Israel shows a majority of the village’s 1,000-odd residents are supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming national elections on April 9.

Many of Arab al-Naim’s residents have served in the Israeli military or Border Police and say that despite Netanyahu’s support for the nation-state law, which enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” they feel he best represents them.

“Of course, I am going to vote for Netanyahu,” said Yousef Naim, a sanitation worker. “He was the first politician to care about Arab al-Naim.”

In 1999, Israel officially recognized the collection of shacks as a town and, under Netanyahu, the community has been granted building permits and investments of tens of millions of shekels for infrastructure.

“I am voting for Netanyahu because he has made sure our village is prospering,” said another resident. “Without his help, I probably would have still been freezing at night in the winter in the shacks.”

In the 2015 national elections, 77 percent of voters in Arab al-Naim cast ballots for Likud while in other Bedouin villages Likud received less than 1 percent of the vote.

Mashour Naim said the law “has not changed anything – I was equal before and I am still equal.”

Meanwhile, in other election news, an army of fake social media accounts are pumping up Netanyahu’s campaign, according to an internet watchdog group.

Big Bots Project said that pro-Netanyahu posts by fake users have seen 2.5 million hits in Israel. Some of these posts also spread false information about Benny Gantz, the former IDF chief who heads the Blue and White Party.

The report said that Likud is not directly linked to the Twitter activity. Likud responded as well.

“The Likud is not connected in any way to the network to which you refer,” the party said. “The Likud does not operate any network of bots, avatars, fake profiles and so on. The Likud is almost the only party that does not use such methods.”

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