State indicts alleged Zoabi attacker

Artami Karzov, 28, was recorded pouring bottle of juice on Balad MK at a college symposium in Ramat Gan

March 4, 2015 16:30
2 minute read.

MK Zoabi attacked during heated debate at college panel‏

MK Zoabi attacked during heated debate at college panel‏

The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed an indictment with the city’s magistrate’s court against Artami Karzov for attacking MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) on Tuesday during a conference at the Ramat Gan College of Law and Business. Karzov was also charged with public disorder.

The 28-year-old Ramat Gan resident poured a bottle of juice on Zoabi while she was walking off the stage, and he was taken into custody. Zoabi was not harmed, but Emily Moatti, a strategist for the Joint List, was attacked in the ensuing fracas and taken to the hospital, according to the party.

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At around noon, Karzov and dozens of right-wing activists arrived at the symposium to protest against Zoabi’s presence. They disrupted her when it was her turn to speak, according to the indictment. They allegedly surrounded the stage where she was sitting and chanted slurs against her, caused general disorder and instigated physical altercations, including pushing attendees.

Tel Aviv police said the atmosphere at the symposium, which focused on the subject of women in politics, had become somewhat heated in the minutes before the incident, when an audience member raised a Palestinian flag and drew the ire of many of those present.

Video footage shows MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) shouting at a woman in front of the crowd who is holding a scarf bearing the word “Palestine” and the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Other footage shows the conference becoming rowdy, and Zoabi stopping to take a picture with a fan while being walked offstage. A hand then appears from off-camera and pours a bottle of juice over her. The Arabic word for whore can be heard – though it is unclear who said it or at whom it was directed.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the Joint List said a group of right-wing activists from parties including Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi and Yahad had come to the conference to disrupt the event and prevent Zoabi from speaking.

The statement added that after the initial altercation, an associate of far-right activist and Yahad Knesset candidate Baruch Marzel hit Moatti on the head.

A separate indictment was filed on Wednesday against Ofer Golan, 46, from Rishon Lezion, for attacking and causing injury to Moatti.

In a Facebook post shortly before the incident, Marzel wrote the address where the symposium would be taking place and the words: “Haneen Zoabi, I’m coming for you.” He repeated his vow that if he made it into the Knesset, “I will do everything I can to wipe the smile off Zoabi’s face.”

Joint List head Ayman Odeh said the incident was part of a “wave of racism and violence that has defined the current government,” adding that it was “sad to see that even at academic institutions, it is no longer possible to have a debate and hear a wide variety of positions.”

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