Knesset Sessions Suspended After Arab MK Diagnosed With Coronavirus

MK Samy Abu Shahadeh.

The Knesset suspended sessions scheduled for Thursday after an MK from the Joint List tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Knesset said nonessential staff have been asked to stay home and all of Thursday’s committee meetings were postponed “pending an investigation of the ramifications” of MK Samy Abu Shahadeh having contracted the coronavirus.

“I appeal to all of those who have been in my immediate vicinity to self-isolate and get tested,” Abou Shahadeh said on Twitter. “The virus is still among us and a return to so-called routine helps the virus spread with greater magnitude and speed.”

Abu Shahadeh, 44, entered quarantine on Tuesday after his driver was diagnosed with coronavirus.

In an interview with Kan News, Abu Shahadeh said that he had been in contact with thousands of people.

“I went to comfort mourners and also to family events and demonstrations,” he said. “I was on committees, in the plenary and even the cafeteria.”

Abu Shahadeh paid a visit to the mourning tent set up by the family of Iyad Halak, the 32-year-old East Yerushalayim man with special needs who was shot to death by police last weekend.

Pictures of him visiting the family and at a protest showed him not wearing a mask as he stood shoulder to shoulder with others.

Abu Shahadeh lives in Tel Aviv, where he previously served on the municipal council. He entered the Knesset in October 2019 as a member of the Joint List’s Balad faction.

On Thursday, the Head of the Knesset’s Coronavirus Committee, Yifat Shasha-Biton, has requested that the Knesset immediately test all MKs for coronavirus.

“A swift response is critical in order to stop the chain of infections,” Biton said. “I call on the Health Ministry to conduct immediate testing on all those who work in the Knesset and who came into contact with Abu Shahadeh.”

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