Bennett Lashes Out at Arab MKs Over Incitement

YERUSHALAYIM -
Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaking in the Knesset on Wednesday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Tensions over Har HaBayis spilled over into the Knesset plenum on Wednesday, as Education Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out at Arab members of the Joint List for fomenting violence in recent days.

“For ten days, we have been witness to an intentional heating up of the situation by Palestinian factors and some Israeli Arabs,” he said, and singled out Joint List MKs Haneen Zoabi and Ahmad Tibi, along with Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch.

Bennett accused them of spreading an “anti-Semitic blood libel against Israel.”

“You know that Har HaBayis is open and those who want can pray. Why don’t you say the truth, that the state of Israel is keeping it secure and there is no attempt to change anything?” he asked. “Blood is being spilled, and you remain silent.”

Bennett noted that he had voted against removal of the metal detectors.

Tibi, claiming his right to respond, since his name was mentioned from the podium, in turn accused Bennett of “joining the band of ministers who incite against Arab MKs… the easiest available scapegoat.”

Tibi denied that he incites the Israeli-Arab public, and insisted that it is the presence of police and metal detectors which spark the violence.

Both Bennett and Tibi struggled to make themselves heard over shouted interruptions.

MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beyenu), told Tibi to “go to Palestine” and “go to Syria”, to which Tibi responded in Arabic that he was here (in Israel) to stay.