Attorney-general Menahem Mazuz on Thursday rejected a request to investigate National Democratic Assembly MK Jamal Zahalka on suspicion of incitement against Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Zahalka recently said in an interview on Channel One's Erev Hadash program that Barak "listens to classical music and kills children." The complaint against the MK was filed by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.
Raz Nazri, Mazuz's senior aide, wrote to Legal Forum attorney Hila Cohen that Zahalka's words were "crude and improper both in their contents and style, and would have better been left unsaid."
Nevertheless, he continued, they were not a matter for criminal action. "The best way to deal with these sorts of expressions is in the public and ethical arena," Nazri wrote, and pointed out that they could complain to the Knesset Ethics Committee.
In her letter to Mazuz, Cohen wrote that "a comment that compares Israel's defense minister with those who during the black years of European history acted against women and children and then afterwards went to the theatre and to concerts without pangs of guilt is, without any doubt, one that must not be made and absolutely exceeds the boundaries of legitimate freedom of expression."
Cohen also wrote that Zahalka had brought shame to the Knesset with his behavior towards Erev Hadash moderator Dan Margalit. "He expressed himself with violent shouting and harsh personal insults against Margalit including 'brazen,' 'a nothing,' 'a court journalist,' 'a man of no conscience' and 'an immigrant.'"
Mazuz's policy throughout his term as attorney-general has been to refrain from investigating or pressing criminal charges on grounds of incitement as much as possible to protect the right to freedom of expression.