The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has noted continuing acts of disloyalty by certain Arab Members of Knesset voted in under the Joint List and called for the removal of parliamentary immunity for MKs who commit gross disloyalty verbally or by actions.
The ZOA’s concern is prompted by the latest incident in which Arab Joint List MK, Israeli Arab Hanin Zoabi, presenting a no confidence motion against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Mr. Netanyahu “should be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, because he is a war criminal.”
The ZOA notes that it is an extraordinary event when a member of parliament attacks the democratically elected prime minister of the country as being a war criminal. This incident underscores the hostility and disloyalty to Israel of a number of MKs that have been elected to the Knesset who see it as their job to side with Israel’s enemies.
In past years, we have witnessed Arab MK Ahmad Bibi attend a conference in Doha, claiming he was representing ‘Palestine’; MK Rajleb Majdele refuse to sing the national anthem, Hatikvah, and who also declared that Israel has no sovereign right to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site; MK Azmi Bishara praise Syria, a enemy regime sworn to Israel’s destruction, for its “struggle to liberate occupied Arab land, its resistance against occupation and its defense of the legitimacy of such resistance”; and MK Jamal Zahalka call Syria a state which is “no enemy.”
The record has not improved in recent years.
Some recent examples of disloyal and hostile conduct by Israeli Arab MKs:
- December 2017: MK Jamal Zahalka, head of the Balad Party (who succeeded to this position when his predecessor, Azmi Bishara, fled the country while under investigation for passing information to Hizballah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War), said in a TV interview that “I would rather die than sing the Israeli national anthem … “Any flag for me is a rag. It’s a piece of cloth. It’s a lot worse than a rag.”
- July 2016: MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List), stated that she views sovereign Israeli territory –– Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, and internationally recognized as Israeli territory –– as “occupied” Palestinian territory. In an interview with a Hamas publication, Zoabi, commenting on moves to expel her from the Knesset for disloyalty, described such moves as “an attempt to deter the Palestinian people in the ‘internal’ occupied territory [i.e., within Israel].”
- June 2016: Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 “Gaza flotilla” which attempted to break Israel’s lawful security blockade on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and was on board the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara as it attempted to run the blockade, crowed about Israeli compensatory concessions to Turkey (arranged by the Obama Administration), and claimed the deal vindicated her support for the Hamas flotilla.
- April 2016: Jamal Zahalka, speaking to the Palestinian Al-Watan news site, called upon Arabs to prevent Jews “at all costs” and “by any means” from visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, calling on Arab youths to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount at all costs, saying, “the third intifada was born due to these ascents (to the site) …Our Palestinian nation adheres to Al-Aqsa Mosque and will defend it with all its strength, the Palestinian nation is the shield for the holy sites in Jerusalem.”
- February 2016: Three MKs of the Arab Joint List party, Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas of the Balad faction, met with the family members of Arab terrorists, including terrorists who have murdered Israelis. The three MKs meet with 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 in October 2015, murdering three Israelis. Subsequently, one of the three MKs, Betty Ghattas, defended the visits, declaring that terrorists slain while murdering Jews are “martyrs.”
- September 2015: Three Arab MKs from the Arab Joint List party, Ahmed Tibi, Taleb Abu Arar and Jamal Zahalka, were involved in an altercation with Israeli police officers on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, with Tibi at one point actually striking a police officer –– a criminal offense –– after which another policeman tells him “you just hit a police officer!” Tibi also shouted at the police, telling them their very presence on Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, was itself a provocation. Also Abu Arar was captured on video harassing Jewish visitors to the site, repeating the lie that the Temple Mount has no Jewish connection whatsoever, saying, “What is there for you here? You don’t have one centimeter here!”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The record is clear and has been so for many years: a number of Israeli Arab MKs have been grotesquely disloyal to Israel, siding with Israel’s mortal enemies, including terrorist organizations that have the blood of Israeli Jews on their hands. In some cases, certain MKs have even acted treasonously.
“Things cannot go on the way they are. In these circumstances, it is clear that Israeli law needs to be amended to remove immunity from any MK who commits acts or make statements reflecting gross disloyalty or treason.
“Under the current system, the most treasonous acts or statements, which would be harshly punished in any other country, are permitted to Arab MKs because they are MKs. These MKs use parliamentary immunity to engage in acts or verbal atrocities that could not be carried out by any Israeli citizen without fear of arrest and long terms of imprisonment.
“We call on the Israeli government to examine ways to change the law so as to enable the state to hold responsible for treason or gross disloyalty those MKs who commit such acts or make statements. Doing so will correct a long overdue anomaly and also serve to temper the words and deeds of MKs who might be inclined to make a career of bashing the country in which they live and to whose legislature they were elected to serve for the benefit of all Israelis and Israel. And they are paid by Israel with full benefits and pensions.
“This untenable and dangerous situation must be remedied without further delay. Israel can’t permit its Knesset members to undermine the Jewish State. No country would.”