(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Knesset members from across the political spectrum leveled harsh criticism at Balad chairman Azmi Bishara, as news of his decision to resign from parliament spread Sunday.
"I bless [Bishara] for his decision and call on all his friends in the Arab factions to follow his lead and free the Israeli Knesset from the presence of those who aid the enemies of the state," said MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP). "I am full of hope that Bishara will find political asylum in Syria or with his friends in Hizbullah."
Likud MK Yuval Steinitz called on Israel to bring Bishara to justice. "Israel must consider capturing Bishara so as to bring him to trial on a number of different counts, including treason," Steinitz said, adding that it was a shame that the Knesset did not take heed of his warning three years ago and dismiss Bishara on treason charges then.
"It's a good thing that Bishara understood that his place is in a cell, and not in the Knesset," MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP) said.
Orlev and MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP) also called on the state to try Bishara for treason. "It is a shame that the Knesset voted down a law that I proposed that would automatically dismiss any MK that visited an enemy country," Orlev added.
"Thank God he quit," said MK Gilad Erdan (Likud).
"The fact that he submitted his resignation from Egypt proves that he never had any loyalty to Israel."
"In the wake of his resignation, the Knesset of Israel is cleaner today, and I hope that the rest of the MKs in the other Arab parties will not follow Bishara's example of treason," said Kadima MK Yoel Hasson.
One of the only MKs to express real regret at Bishara's departure was MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) who called Bishara "one of the Knesset's most brilliant parliamentarians.
"Bishara was right to resign. It's impossible for the ongoing conflict between Israeli Arabs and their homeland to take place with a background of unending rumors," said Vilan.