Rivlin: Knesset standards declining

Knesset speaker discusses minority rights; Tibi receives death threat.

June 9, 2010 09:19
2 minute read.
Reuvin Rivlin picks tomatoes with his grandson Mat

reuven rivlin 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Following an onslaught of threats against himself and other Arab Knesset members, UAL-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi accused right-wing MKs of fanning the flames of incitement against them Tuesday, hours after Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin blasted MKs’ behavior in the wake of the Gaza flotilla incident.

“The incitement by rightwing members of Knesset is the reason for the threats, and right-wing MKs will bear the responsibility for any harm to me or my fellow Arab members of Knesset,” said Tibi.

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Tibi received a letter earlier in the day claiming that “due to your poisonous stance against Zionism, the management of the Pulsa Denura Organization issued a pulsa denura [Kabbalistic curse] against you.”

The curse has held a prominent place in Israeli politics in recent decades, with similar curses ceremonially issued against former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon, as well as against the organizers of the 2006 Gay Pride Parade.

In the letter received by the Arab MK, the sender – who signed the message “Johann Rasmunsen” – said that Tibi had 180 days to live and that his death would be both unexpected and accompanied by suffering. The letter told the Arab MK to prepare a will.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said in response to Tibi’s comments that the MK “would love it if we took responsibility for him. The Arab MKs act like a fifth column, but then act surprised when this behavior comes back at them like a boomerang.”

 Earlier, Rivlin complained during an interview with Army Radio that “there has been a severe drop in debating standards, and the freedom of behavior that members of Knesset allow themselves.”

 During last week’s debate on the Gaza flotilla, MKs used vitriolic language and slung personal insults, but the events reached a climax when the discussion ended in a near-brawl.

“We cannot tolerate this behavior,” complained Rivlin, who rushed to the plenum at the time to restore order.“Debate standards are a slippery slope in which the majority is trying to cancel out the minority.”

Rivlin also cited an incident Monday during the committee debate on suspending some of Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s privileges, in which MK Yulia Shamolov Berkovich (Kadima) called the Arab lawmaker “zubi” – slang for “penis.” The remark was struck from the protocol.

Rivlin said he had personally spoken to each of the MKs, who had received verbal warnings during the debates.

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