Death threats to Arab MKs increasing

"Lieberman accused us of inciting against the Jews. But it's him that is really inciting against us."

Barakei 248 88 (photo credit: Knesset )
Barakei 248 88
(photo credit: Knesset )
Arab MKs have been receiving death threats in the mail nearly every day, said representatives from the three Arab parties Thursday. "We have always received threats, but they have recently escalated to the point where we are growing truly concerned," said a spokesman for MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash). "For the past week, every time I have opened the mail, we have received at least one or two threats." Barakei is the only Arab MK who has come forward about the threats, though two other MKs told The Jerusalem Post that they had noticed an increase in the number of threats they have received in recent weeks. Knesset security has been notified of the letters, said the MKs. "We have sent them the letters, and told them about our concerns, but we have seen nothing happen. I do not feel they are taking this threat very seriously," said the spokesman. Another MK from the United Arab List said that if the threats continued, they would file a formal petition with Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to investigate the origin of the threats. "We have a pretty good idea where these threats are coming from. The right-wing parties have made us a target for their attacks, and now their supporters are following in their example," said one Balad MK. Barakei's spokesman said that in many of the letters they had received, the senders used wording nearly identical to that used by Israel Beiteinu Chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman. "The right wing, especially Lieberman, has accused us of inciting against the Jews. But it is him that is really inciting against us," said the spokesman. Last week, Lieberman swore to "rid the Knesset of all its Arab factions," adding to the growing animosity between his party and the Arab MKs. Addressing the plenum during a no-confidence motion, Lieberman said that a new administration would soon be established and would "take care" of the Arab parties. "Today we have a government made up of cowards. This is temporary, just as you [the Arab factions] are temporary here," said Lieberman. He added that the Knesset should follow the example of the Kuwaiti government, which recently decided to deport people who attended a rally commemorating Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hizbullah leader who was killed in a bomb blast in Damascus on February 12. Several Arab MKs who were present during Lieberman's comments yelled out during the speech and eventually left the plenum. Lieberman has repeatedly questioned the Arab faction's loyalty to the state. More than a year ago, his party proposed a bill that would see the Arab MKs expelled unless they expressed their patriotism. Harsh words have been exchanged between the two groups ever since, including an accusation made by Lieberman three days ago that incitement by the Arab MKs led to the terror attack last week in which eight students at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva were shot and killed. Two days prior to the terror attack, MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP) also called for the expulsion of all the Arab MKs. "One day we will expel you from this house, and from the national home of the Jewish people," Eitam told the plenum.