A man was arrested for attacking Joint (Arab) List MK Haneen Zoabi during an appearance on a panel at the Ramat Gan College of Law on Tuesday.The 28-year-old Ramat Gan resident poured a bottle of juice on Zoabi while she was walking off the stage at the conference, and he was taken into custody. Zoabi was not harmed, but Emily Moatti, a strategist for the Joint List, was attacked in the ensuing fracas and taken to the hospital afterward, according to the party.
Tel Aviv police said the atmosphere at the conference, which focused on the subject of women in politics, had become somewhat heated in the minutes before the incident, after an audience member raised a Palestinian flag and drew the ire of many present.A video from the incident shows MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) shouting at a woman in the front of the crowd who is holding a scarf bearing the word “Palestine” and the colors of the Palestinian flag.Another video from the event shows the conference becoming rowdy, and Zoabi stopping to take a picture with a fan while being walked offstage. A hand then appears from off-camera and pours out a bottle of juice on her, and the Arabic word for “whore” can be heard – though it is unclear who has said it or at whom it was directed.In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the Joint List said that a group of right-wing activists from parties including Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi and Yahad had come to the conference in order to prevent Zoabi from speaking and to disrupt the event. The Joint List added that after the initial altercation inside the auditorium, an activist associated with far-Right activist and Yahad candidate Baruch Marzel had hit Moatti in the head.In a Facebook post shortly before the incident, Marzel wrote the address of the conference and the words, “Haneen Zoabi, I’m coming for you.”He also repeated his vow that if he made it into the Knesset, “I will do everything I can to wipe the smile off Zoabi’s face.” Joint Arab List head Ayman Odeh said the incident was part of the “wave of racism and violence that has defined the current government,” and that it was “sad to see that even at academic institutions, it is no longer possible to have a debate and hear a wide variety of positions.”
MK Zoabi attacked during heated debate at college panel