Arab MKs staged a walkout during Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the Knesset on the 67th anniversary of its founding.
Speaking of the Palestinian problem, Netanyahu declared, as he has numerous times in the past, that “the root of the conflict is the negation of the very existence of the state of Israel, the aspiration to wipe us off the face of the earth.”
In disagreement with his point, the Arab MKs left the hall, calling it “cheap right-wing demagogy and exploitation of the event.”
They returned after Netanyahu finished speaking.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned the assemblage that bad behavior by lawmakers harms the image of the parliament and limits its ability to govern.
“Millions of citizens send their elected representatives to this place, and it seems time and again, they are disappointed,” Edelstein began. “Beyond specific affairs, there is probably something in the atmosphere we need to purify.”
“These feelings express [the thoughts] of hundreds of citizens who turn to me all the time,” he continued. “They are angry about the shape of the debate, about how [bad] behavior and speech are visible in broadcasts and reports.”
Edelstein urged Knesset members to refrain from “provocations and verbal blows,” and rather engage in “sharp, incisive dialogue being conducted with mutual respect, attentiveness and constant understanding.”