Netanyahu apologizes for anti-Arab election talk

Mar 24, 2015, 4:18 AM EDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters as reacts to exit poll figures in Israel's parliamentary elections late on March 17, 2015 in the city of Tel Aviv.
AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video to his Facebook page Monday expressing regret over the inflammatory comments he made on last week's election day, Reuters reports. He was referring to an appeal he made March 17 to his conservative base, urging them to come out to the polls and vote to counteract the voice of the Arabs coming out "in droves." 

Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List - a faction of the Israeli parliament comprised of Arabs - did not accept the apology, according to Haaretz. He asked local media, "I want to see actions...how will he manifest this apology?" 

The comments were widely condemned last week as racist and undemocratic, The Guardian reported. U.S. President Barack Obama claimed the divisive speech will make Israeli-Palestinian negotiations even harder than they already are. Netanyahu's appeal was ostensibly an attempt to turn the tide in a tight election, which he ultimately won.