MKs from from across the political spectrum exchanged insults at a Knesset Education Committee meeting on Monday ahead of a contentious "Nakba Day" event that was scheduled to be held on the Tel Aviv University campus.
The Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, is an annual commemoration when Arabs mourn the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The Palestinian narrative recounts how hundreds of thousands of Arabs were either forced or felt compelled to leave behind their homes, with many fleeing to Israel’s neighboring countries where they remain until this day.
Hundreds of people later showed up at the university's Antine Square for the "Nakba Day" event, but a counter-demonstration held at the site was even bigger than the original event. One person was arrested during the course of the events.
MK Miri Regev stated that the Gaza Strip would be a more appropriate venue for the event, drawing the ire of MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash).
After the committee chair ejected Barakeh from the meeting for interrupting, MK Jamal Zahalke (Balad) responded by asking rhetorically: "Is this the Education Committee or the Inquisition?"
Zahalke also stated that "Regev should not be allowed on campus because she incites against Arabs all the time," to which Regev responded "Yes, only terrorists are allowed."
Yisrael Beytenu MK Moshe Matalon chimed in, saying that the Arab MKs represent terrorists and "in any other country they would be hanged in the town square."
Matalon accused MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) of supporting terrorism. "Tibi was an advisor to the next Hitler," he said, referencing the MK's former position as an advisor to the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Matalon added: "You were the advisor of the person who sent terrorists to kill Jewish children," to which Tibi responded: "That was one of the greatest times of my life."
Asked who was funding the Tel Aviv University event, Tibi said sarcastically: "There are rumors that al-Qaida is funding it."
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.