Knesset uproar as Arab MKs meet terrorists’ families

February 4, 2016  

Three MKs of the Arab Joint List party met this week with the family members of Arab terrorists, including terrorists who have murdered Israelis during the recent wave of attacks, in a meeting met with condemnation from the Knesset on Thursday.

The three MKs are Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas of the Balad faction.

Among the terrorist family members they met with was the father of Baha Alian, who together with another accomplice conducted the lethal shooting and knife attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s southeast Armon Hanatziv last October, murdering 78-year-old Haim Habib, 51-year-old Alon Guvberg and 76-year-old Richard Lakin.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement against the meeting, promising to get involved.

“Members of Knesset who go to comfort the families of terrorists who murder Israelis are not worthy of serving in the Knesset of Israel,” he said. “I contacted the Knesset Speaker this evening in order to check what steps can be taken against them.”

Also promising action was Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud), who said, “Balad Knesset members – a fifth column.”

“I always said that we have Trojan horses in the Knesset. Their place isn’t there and that’s the mission of the new Attorney General who took his role this week. I will contact him this evening in a demand to open processes to remove them from the Knesset of Israel.”

“Remove them from Israel”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) responded to the meeting with fury, saying, “the Arab MKs don’t miss a single opportunity to support terror.”

“They first of all harm their own public, they don’t represent anything and don’t advance anything other than support for terror and active work against the state of Israel,” said Hotovely.

“The Arab public is the first that needs to come out against its representatives who work as terror agents and not as their representatives in the Knesset.”

In elections last March, the Joint List party received huge support from Arab citizens, gaining 13 mandates and becoming the third largest party in Israel.

Former Foreign Minister MK Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, also condemned the meeting.

“There’s no more need for any proof that the Knesset members of the Joint List in general and the Balad faction in particular are representatives of terror organizations in the Knesset,” slammed Liberman.

“The meeting of Balad members of the Knesset with the families of terrorists who murdered Jews is just a reminder to those who still need it, in the government and in the law enforcement system, that these terrorists must be removed as quickly as possible from the Knesset of Israel, and preferably from the state of Israel.”

“Arabs are better than this”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, chairperson of Jewish Home, also commented on the meeting and like Hotovely claimed the MKs were not serving as representatives of the Arab public that overwhelmingly voted for them.

“The visit of Knesset members with the families of the murderers is a black stain that will be recorded in the annals of the state of Israel,” said Bennett.

“I call on the Arab public: you are a lot better than them. Denounce them. Condemn them. There won’t be unity among us if our public representatives meet with our murderers.”

Many of the terrorists in the current wave of attacks have turned out to be Arab citizens of Israel. The latest such attack took place on Thursday, when two 13-year-old female Arab Israelis conducted a stabbing at a Ramle mall wounding one person lightly, and later admitting: “we came to kill Jews.”

Perhaps the most notable attack by an Arab citizen in the current wave came in early January, when Nashat Melhem murdered three in a lethal shooting attack in Tel Aviv.

Former Israeli Security Agency (ISA) head MK Ya’akov Peri (Yesh Atid) responded to the attack by calling not to “generalize” Arabs as terrorists, even though residents of Milhem’s hometown of Arara in the north where he was found revealed that “many people knew” he was hiding out there, apparently aided by his family, and chose not to inform the police. 

Bennett likewise said after the attack that he does not blame Arab terror on the Arab public but rather on the government, emphasizing “I turn the accusing finger on us.”

Peri and Bennett’s statements would seem to be proven false by a poll last November. The poll found 57% of Israeli Arabs feel the radical Islamic Movement in Israel that is funded by Hamas represents them faithfully, and 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel said they are not ashamed of Islamic State (ISIS), and do not view it as a terrorist organization.

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