The uproar over the new mayor of Haifa’s appointment of a communist terrorist sympathizer and BDS supporter to be deputy mayor has refused to die down, and the appointee in question has been asked to issue a denial.
Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem told Raja Za’atara he must repudiate his controversial positions, lest the municipal coalition be wrecked. He has compared the Zionist movement to Islamic State and refused to call Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
“I am under pressure and you have to clarify things; in this situation our coalition will not last for a week,” she told him, according to Hadashot.
“I plan a press conference,” Za’atara reportedly replied, but has so far refused to retract his remarks.
Meanwhile, coalition chairman David Amsalem on Monday submitted a bill to prevent his appointment by prohibiting a city council from appointing a deputy mayor who expressed support for a terrorist organization. It would also empower the interior minister, who has overall authority over municipalities, to cancel such an appointment retrospectively, subject to a hearing.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly opposed the appointment, but sources close to Kalisch-Rotem said she refused his request to rescind it in a phone call last week.