(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Relations between Jewish and Arab Knesset members reached an all-time low Tuesday when an Arab MK was ejected from a committee meeting after hurling a profanity at a fellow MK.
The incident happened during a meeting of the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee as MKs discussed a bill proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP) to nullify the Israeli citizenship of any MK who rejects Israel's right to exist as a democratic country or who encourages terrorism.
The bill, which was conceived after several Arab MKs visited Syria over the summer, has sparked outrage among the Arab party factions.
For a Jerusalem Online video of events click here
During Tuesday's meeting, MK Azmi Bishara (Balad), who was among the group to visit Syria, addressed the committee to explain his reason for visiting that country.
Bishara's speech was interrupted by MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), who yelled out, "Why don't you just go back to Syria?"
"Why don't you just go f--- yourself?" Bishara shouted back, prompting an uproar in the committee. Knesset Security personnel quickly removed Bishara from the room at the prompting of Committee Chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima).
Erdan said he planned to file a complaint with the Knesset's Ethics Committee banning Bishara from future Knesset discussions.
"No democracy in the world would allow this kind of behavior from their parliamentarians," said Erdan. "These [Arab MKs] have gotten out of control."
After Bishara was ejected, MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List) defended Bishara.
"The Arab factions have been isolated here... While I support the Jewish State, what Orlev is trying to create is a racist state," said A-Sanaa.
MK Limor Livnat (Likud), speaking after A-Sanaa, noted that this was the first time she had heard the United Arab List MK support a Jewish state.
Before the committee voted on the bill, Ben-Sasson urged MKs to vote against the bill, as it was too problematic and raised serious legal questions. Ultimately, the bill was rejected by an 11-5 majority.
Earlier in the day, Bishara introduced a bill that would force the government to return expropriated land to its original owners in specified cases.
According to the bill, property would revert to its owners if after seven years it has not been used for the original purposes intended by the government, or if the original purpose has been changed.
The current law the Supreme Court uses to decide cases is based on a land directive established by the British Mandatory rule in 1943.
Bishara argued that the current law created a "distortion" by ignoring the history of the land once a new deed was signed.