Arab MK Hanin Zoabi on Sunday was sentenced to six months in jail – suspended – and a fine of NIS 3,000 for “insulting a public servant.” The outspoken Zoabi agreed to the sentence in a plea bargain after she was charged with calling an Israeli Arab court worker a “traitor” for working for the Israeli court system in 2014.
The sentence was handed down Sunday by the Nazareth district court – the same place where the crime took place – after the state dropped further charges against her for incitement to violence in return for her agreeing to the sentence and dropping her Knesset immunity regarding the matter.
In the incident in July 2014, Israel Radio reported, Zoabi shouted at the court workers that they were “traitors. We should sweep the floor with the likes of you, who empower the authorities who keep our people down. We will not shake your hands, we will not let you be a part of us. Let them fear the ‘shabab,’ the gangs of Arab youths who they arrest and keep down.”
Commenting on the deal, Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman said that “the deal with Zoabi, like previous decisions not to put her on trial, such as in the Mavi Marmara incident where she offered comfort and assistance to Hamas-affiliated terrorists, as well as the decision of the High Court to allow her to run for the Knesset, effectively allow those who support terrorists to sit in the Knesset. Unfortunately, the court did not deny this plea bargain, which will go down as another sign of the destruction of Israeli democracy.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he would seek to pass legislation that would allow the Knesset to eject members who visit and support terrorists. Netanyahu called on the opposition to support the bill.
The new bill is also the “fault” of Zoabi, who along with fellow Arab MKs Jamal Zahalka and Bassal Ghatam, met with families of terrorists in East Yerushalayim last week. The three met with the families of eleven terrorists on Wednesday, just a few hours before the murder of Hadar Cohen, killed in a terror attack at the Damascus Gate in Yerushalayim. At the beginning of the meeting, the three held a “moment of silence” for the “memory of the martyrs,” the terrorists who were killed by Israeli security officials in the course of their terror attacks.
“Many Israelis feel that these Knesset members do not represent them,” Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “We invest a great deal in encouraging Israeli Arabs to be a part of Israeli society, but these MKs do the opposite – they build walls of hatred. I wonder what would happen in the British Parliament or the U.S. Congress if members had stood in silence for those who murdered Britons or Americans. I imagine there would be a great outcry, and justifiably so.”