Zionist Camp MK Zouheir Bahloul, who resigned from the Knesset to protest the recently passed Nationality Law, could be joined by other Arab MKs – the entire United Arab List List, which is considering following Bahloul’s lead, Maariv reported.
“It’s time to establish a national council for the ‘Arabs of 1948,’” UAL MK Jam’aa Azbarkeh told Maariv. Referring to Israeli Arabs, the source said that the “national council” would take a “collective decision to resign from the Knesset.”
Azbarkeh said that he was in favor of resigning immediately after passage of the Nationality Law. “I wanted us to walk out in protest, but my proposal was not accepted,” he said.
The move is being prompted by the criticism Bahloul had of his fellow Arab MKs in the wake of the passage of the law. “Shall I sit on the fence and legitimize discrimination by the Knesset? I cannot sit back and watch what is happening,” Bahloul said in a live interview on Motzoei Shabbos, announcing his resignation. “I am going to have give answers to my grandchildren about this. I will be able to tell them I did the right thing,” he said, implying that other Arab MKs would not be able to do so.
Meanwhile, right-wing MKs celebrated Bahloul’s resignation. “The Knesset will not cry over this resignation,” said Jewish Home head and Education Minister Naftali Bennett. “There is an unfair and uncalled for hysteria about this law, and that has now spread to the resignation of an Arab MK who has said that his Palestinian identity is more important than his Israeli one.” It is attitudes like those of Bahloul that makes the law a necessity. “The law is required to halt the ongoing damage to the Jewish character of the state by the High Court,” Bennett said. “This is not about the individual rights of anyone, but about the character of the state.”
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said that “the Nationality Law was just an excuse for Bahloul to make some noise. He understands that in the wake of the poor showing of his party in the polls he will not be returning to the Knesset anyway. In contrast to all those on the left who are upset at his resignation – the same people who see a terrorist as a ‘freedom fighter’ – I am actually happy that he is leaving. I hope that the other supporters of Hamas in the Knesset follow his lead.”