The Knesset Ethics Committee has suspended United Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi for a week, after she called IDF soldiers “murderers.” The suspension will come into effect after the Knesset reconvenes in late April, after the Pesach recess. Under the suspension, Zoabi will be prevented from participating in Knesset sessions and committee meetings.
The suspension came after an incident last month when Zoabi, well-known for her acerbic and often anti-Israel tongue, was ejected from the Knesset Education Committee during a discussion of a law that would ban speakers who interfere with the work of IDF troops from speaking in schools. Known as the “Breaking the Silence” law, it was inspired by a recent ban imposed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of speakers from the far-left Breaking the Silence group at an official school event in northern Israel, after they were accused of discouraging students from serving in the IDF.
Zoabi said “a murderer is a murderer if they kill one person, or, as in the army, they kill people every day. Thus soldiers are murderers, even if they don’t kill every day. Have you not heard about Palestinian youths that were killed by soldiers? Why are you afraid of the truth? It is enough if they kill someone only every few days. Who is it that is murdering Palestinians in the occupied territories?”
Zoabi was attacked by MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) who said that it was wrong to called all soldiers “murderers,” as it was akin to calling “all Arabs murderers. How can you make this comparison? Israeli soldiers have to face very difficult situations, that you Arabs yourselves create. Terrorists who are killed bring their deaths on themselves. You should be ashamed of yourself,” she told Zoabi. MK Oren Hazan filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee over her behavior, with the resulting suspension.
Hazan expressed disappointment over the decision, saying that “once again we show MKs who support terror that they can get away with anything. At least this time they agreed to suspend the offending MK for a week. It is a punishment just ‘for show,’ but maybe it is a beginning – a shameful one, but a beginning. I will continue to attempt to put these Arab MKs who support terror in their place,” he added.