Arab MKs Accused of Disloyalty

YERUSHALAYIM -
Dr. Jamal Zahalka of the Balad party being ejected from the plenum by Knesset security staff in a recent incident. Zahalka was one of the Arab MK’s who skipped the presidential inaugural. (Flash90)
Dr. Jamal Zahalka of the Balad party being ejected from the plenum by Knesset security staff in a recent incident. Zahalka was one of the Arab MK’s who skipped the presidential inaugural. (Flash90)

The absence of Arab MKs at the inauguration of Israel’s new president, Reuven Rivlin, has drawn accusations of disloyalty from the right-wing of Likud, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Prominent Likud MK Zeev Elkin declared that “the time has come for the traitors to leave the Knesset and run for the Hamas parliament in Gaza.”

Elkin termed the Arab MKs’ absence “audacious, cynical and hypocritical all at once…They did not hesitate for a minute to vote and influence the result of the election [for president]. Whoever boycotts the president of his country and the army of his country in the time of a forced war to defend our home against a villainous terrorist organization, should not sit in our parliament,” he said.

Arab MKs from UAL-Ta’al, Balad and Hadash were missing from the presidential ceremony, but Masoud Gnaim (UAL-Ta’al) denied it was political, explaining that he stayed home to break the Ramadan fast.

“There wasn’t any coordination between Arab MKs that we wouldn’t come,” Gnaim said.

A Balad spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) condemned the Arab MKs, saying they “prefer to encourage Hamas rather than take part in the presidential inauguration.

“Israel can no longer allow this two-facedness. Whoever identifies with the enemy in war time is not worthy of having Israeli citizenship, and certainly should not be members of Knesset,” she asserted.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved on Friday the launching of a criminal investigation into the conduct of MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) on suspicion of incitement to violence and offending a public servant.

The investigation was prompted by a recent incident in which Arab rioters clashed with security forces during a demonstration in Nazareth.

Zoabi has openly encouraged Hamas, stating in a recent interview that Israel is “afraid of casualties” and is hoping for a ceasefire.

The notorious MK made headlines last month when she defended Hamas’s abduction and murder of three Israeli yeshivah high school students.