Arab MK's outburst spurs ethics complaint

At the urging of many MKs, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik filed a complaint with the Knesset Ethics Committee Thursday against Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) for inappropriate comments in the plenum, where he called Defense Minister Amir Peretz "Angel of Death" and "Child Killer" during Peretz's speech earlier this week. According to Itzik, Zahalka had come to the plenum with the premeditated intention of disrupting Peretz and provoking the MKs present. During that session two other Arab MKs, Talab a-Sanaa and Ibrahim Sarsour (of Ra'am-Ta'al) were also ejected from the plenum for yelling out remarks during Peretz and opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu's speeches. According to spokesmen for the three MKs, they were being targeted in a "media ploy" that was popular because "everyone is trying to look patriotic during the war." "There is no basis to the allegations and this Knesset has certainly become a racist one," said a spokesman for Ra'am-Ta'al. "It's all for the media." Meanwhile, Itzik also announced Thursday that in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, MKs will be dispatched to several countries on a "Public Diplomacy Blitz" for Israel. The MKs will be sent in pairs to London, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm and Copenhagen to hold meetings with government officials and leaders of Jewish communities there. The first groups to go will include Likud MKs Silvan Shalom and Binyamin Netanyahu, MK Colette Avital (Labor) and MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima).