Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein submitted an ethics complaint on Wednesday
against Arab MKs who ripped up copies of the “Prawer bill” regulating Beduin
Edelstein also refused to allow MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab
List-Ta’al) serve in his capacity as deputy Knesset speaker until the Knesset
Ethics Committee releases its ruling on the latter’s behavior.
night, ahead of the Knesset’s first vote on the bill, one Arab MK after another
– Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Afo Agbaria (Hadash), Haneen Zoabi (Balad), Masud Gnaim
(UAL-Ta’al), Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) and others – demonstratively ripped
copies of the bill. Tibi also poured water on the legislation, saying it does
not deserve respect.
Agbaria also called for a third intifada if the
bill, which legalizes around 63% of Beduin land claims, is
“The Knesset speaker should respect our protest,” Zahalka
said in response to the ethics complaint. “This is not something we do every
day. We acted out of deep pain and as representatives of our
Zahalka added that Monday was “a difficult day, and this is not
legislation, but strangulation.”
Edelstein could not comment on the
ethics complaint, because the Ethics Committee is closed to the press and
Knesset regulations forbid MKs from publicizing complaints.
night, each time an MK tore a bill, Edelstein removed him or her from the plenum
and said he would submit a complaint against the legislator.
also announced in the plenum that his office received dozens of angry emails
from citizens who found the MKs’ behavior offensive.
“This is a Mark of
Cain on the forehead of anyone who supports the bill,” Tibi stated on Monday.
“This is a usurping bill! It expels people from their lands and homes for the
second and third time after the tragedy of 1948 [Israel’s
When Barakei argued against the bill, Culture and Sport
Minister Limor Livnat shouted out that he is “obnoxious,” and Barakei told her
to shut her mouth.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” Livnat
“Shut up,” Barakei shouted back.
Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked submitted legislation that would remove
MKs from their position if they call for violence, in response to Agbaria’s call
for a third intifada.
“MKs will have to account for their actions when
they make a statement or behave in a way the legitimizes incitement against the
Jewish democratic state and its citizens,” Shaked said.
is an amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset, which would end an MK’s term if he or
she rejects the State of Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state,
incites to racism or supports armed conflict by an enemy state or terrorist
organization against Israel.
Those are currently the conditions to
prevent a candidate or party from running for the Knesset.
the Knesset House Committee would have to vote to remove the MK, and seven High
Court judges would vote on whether authorize the result.
“We must protect
democracy from those trying to harm it from the inside,” Shaked
“Democracy is not just a means, it’s an end. We cannot help MKs
be elected democratically and then stand by when they say and do anti-democratic
things that will endanger the future Jewish and democratic character of the
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