Azmi Bishara's wife and children returned to Israel overnight Wednesday, MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Bishara's deputy in the party, told the Arab newspaper Kul al-Arab. Zahalka said that the fact Bishara's family had returned proved that the Arab-Israeli MK was not planning to flee the country. Vague reports suggested that as his family returned to Israel, Bishara himself left Jordan for Spain, and was planning to travel to Bahrein and India following his stay on the Iberian peninsula.
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A-Sinara, the Nazareth-based newspaper that first published the news of Bishara leaving Israel, reported on Tuesday that he met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abed Ila el-Hatib and that Hatib asked him to respect Jordan's sovereignty.
According to the report, Bishara took the statement as a hint that he should not conduct a press conference he was planning to hold in Amman and that he better leave Jordan.
In an interview to Army Radio on Thursday morning, Zahalka denied reports that Bishara was told to leave Jordan, and claimed Bishara's media silence - Bishara is usually one of the more outspoken members of Knesset - was imposed on him by the gag order issued on the whole affair.
"Believe me, when the gag order is removed, he will not stop talking," Zahalka said.
Zahalka added that Bishara would "return to Israel following the international tour he scheduled for himself." In Bahrein, Bishara is set to attend a rally of a "national" nature.
According to the Jordanian news agency Amon, Bishara raised in his meeting with Hatib ideas that could change the nature of relations between Israel and its Arab population.
Also while in Jordan, Bishara reportedly met with former Jordanian prime minister and current Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Jordanian Parliament, Taher Eel-Masri, considered a prominent leader of Jordan's Palestinian community.
Amon also reported that Bishara underwent medical tests after suffering pain in his kidneys.