Knesset security guards removed MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) from a Knesset Interior Committee session Monday after he told Israel Police Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino that he had blood on his hands. The confrontation came as Meretz, UAL-Ta’al, Hadash, and Balad raised no-confidence motions.
Danino was at the committee to discuss how the police treats Arab rioters, when Zahalka interrupted him.
“I don’t want to hear someone whose hands are stained with blood like yours,” Zahalka shouted.
“You should be ashamed! Get out!” Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) yelled back.
When Zahalka refused to leave the meeting, Knesset security tried to physically remove him.
As he struggled, Regev called on Zahalka to apologize.
“You sympathize with terrorists! You are a hater of Israel! You are a Trojan horse in the Knesset! Traitor!” Regev shouted, turning to security guards: “Throw him out to Gaza!” MK Mordechai Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) chimed in, telling Zahalka, “Go to your friends in Syria and Gaza.”
Danino remained stony-faced throughout the incident.
Zahalka said in an afternoon interview with the Knesset Channel that his comments were directed at Yogev, not Danino. He did not indicate as much, however, while still at the Interior Committee meeting.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beytenu) called Zahalka’s comments “outrageous.”
“Since I know this MK, I’m not surprised,” the minister said.
“He needs to be criticized and reprimanded. He does not belong in the Knesset.”
Later on Monday, Meretz, UAL-Ta’al, Hadash, and Balad tabled no-confidence motions, contrary to tradition during wartime, at the first opportunity to do so since Operation Protective Edge began.
Outraged, coalition chairman Yariv Levin (the Likud) announced that the coalition would boycott the vote. The opposition can topple the government only with at least 61 votes in support of a no-confidence motion.
“These parties sympathize with Hamas,” said Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (the Likud).
“Meretz used to be a Zionist party, but they’re not anymore. This isn’t the only reason,” Elkin added, without specifying.
“Now, more than at any other time, there is a great importance to our parliamentary struggle and having an opposition in a democratic system,” MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said. “We have no confidence in this government, which led us to a dead end and a diplomatic freeze, bringing a serious [military] escalation.
“Meretz calls for an immediate renewal of diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to reach a real solution that will bring security and stability. Gaza must be part of a two-state solution,” Horowitz added.
MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) said as part of the no-confidence discussion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu supports terrorists, naming the late Meir Har-Zion, an IDF commando in Unit 101, a special forces unit fighting Arab terrorism with reprisal operations in the 1950s, who died this year.
“[Netanyahu] dedicated a special meeting to [Har-Zion]. What we [Israeli Arabs] see here is different from what you [Jews] see,” Tibi said.
“Don’t disparage people and don’t call Har Zion names,” MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) interrupted.
“Why are you defending him? He killed civilians and their families,” MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) claimed.
“Some people kill children and drain the blood of others,” Tibi added.
Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ofir Akunis responded to the motions, saying that the Arab parties, Hadash, and Meretz set a new standard for shamefulness.
“As I stand here, Hamas and other terrorist organizations are doing all they can to kill civilians – men, women and children... It is embarrassing that I have to stand here before you and answer no-confidence motions when I should be out in the field with citizens, strengthening them,” Akunis said.
“This time, I’m not even asking the MKs to vote against your no-confidence motion, because we just won’t be here. You can vote against yourselves,” he quipped.