Ethics panel rebukes MKs for behavior toward Tibi

Likud's Ofir Akunis tells committee that UALTa’al MK had broken the law by expressing support for Hamas in the plenum.

August 4, 2011 03:21
1 minute read.
Ahmed Tibi and Michael Ben-Ari.

Tibi and Ben Ari 311. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)

The Knesset Ethics Committee rebuked MKs Ofir Akunis (Likud) and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) on Wednesday for their behavior toward MK Ahmed Tibi (UALTa’al).

In the meeting, the committee discussed two complaints from Tibi.

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The first recounted how Akunis, while serving as chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee, said in the plenum that his committee would not work on bills proposed by Tibi “as punishment for his support of the Libyan humanitarian ship to Gaza.”

Akunis told the committee that Tibi had broken the law by expressing support for Hamas in the plenum.

The committee told Akunis that he and all other committee chairmen should avoid misusing their authority and not suspend discussion of a bill because of another MK’s political views.

Doing so would be an ethics violation, and therefore the committee was rebuking Akunis.

Tibi also submitted a complaint about a letter sent by Ben-Ari to Arab MKs, which said MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) lost her immunity because she supported terror, and they would be next.

In his defense, Ben-Ari said that Tibi “is trying to hide his illegal activities from the committee” and “cynically takes advantage of Israeli democracy.”

Ben-Ari said he also has freedom of expression, which includes the letter.

The Ethics Committee censured Ben-Ari, saying that while it recognized his freedom of expression, the letter was accusatory and threatening.

The committee added that Ben-Ari’s behavior was unbecoming for a Knesset member and thus violated the ethics code, which says that “Knesset members should protect the Knesset’s honor, and that of its members.”

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