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All 11 Arab Mks threaten to resign from Knesset if electoral reform bill passed
By GIL HOFFMAN
05/03/2014
Bill would raise minimum number of MKs in a faction from 2 to 4; Rotem: They should all quit, we won't lose any sleep over it.
 
All 11 MKs in Arab factions may resign together on Monday when the legislature is expected to pass electoral reforms that would raise the threshold necessary to enter the next Knesset, Hadash chairman Muhammad Barakei warned at a press conference.

Barakei said on Wednesday the electoral reforms were intended to prevent the Arab legislators from being represented in the parliament.

“It’s not a pleasure speaking in the Knesset under the face of [Zionist visionary Theodor] Herzl,” Barakei said. “If this passes on Monday, we’re considering having all our MKs submit resignation letters together.”

If all 11 MKs resigned, their replacements, next on their parties’ Knesset candidates lists, would include three women, one of whom, in Hadash, is Jewish, Ye’ela Ra’anan. Former MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List) would return to the legislature.

The Knesset is expected to vote Monday on a proposal that would raise the electoral threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent. The decision would raise the minimum number of MKs in a faction after the next national election from two to four. The three Arab factions currently each have three to four MKs.

MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and the sponsor of the bill, said the legislation is not intended to harm the Arab MKs, but he was not opposed to their mass resignation.

“They should all quit,” Rotem said. “We won’t lose any sleep over it.”

United Arab List-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi hinted that he opposed the idea and preferred other tactics.

“I won’t put my head on a silver platter for [Foreign Minister] Avigdor Liberman,” Tibi said.

Tibi called for all the Arab lawmakers to unite and run in one party in the next election. He said that most of the Arab public favors such a move and it would be the proper way to take revenge against Liberman for the electoral reform.

Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) condemned the Arab MKs during a fierce debate in the Knesset on jurisdiction over part of Jerusalem’s Old City. Ariel told Barakei that he was “superfluous” in the Knesset.

“In other places you would have been cast to hell, but here you are treated apologetically,” Ariel told Barakei. “Jews are conceding and apologetic people.”
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