MK Katz loses sleep over 'Shai Dromi' bill

At a stormy session of the Knesset Law Committee Katz accused Beduin MK Taleb a-Sanaa of aiding and abetting the burglars.

yisrael katz 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yisrael katz 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Likud MK Yisrael Katz did not get any sleep at his Negev ranch on Tuesday night, and he thinks an attempt at revenge by Beduin MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta'al) is to blame. Sanaa and Katz are on opposite sides of a debate over the so-called "Shai Dromi bill," which was inspired by an incident in which farmer Shai Dromi killed a Beduin who had trespassed on his Negev ranch to steal sheep in January 2007, and was indicted for manslaughter, possession of an illegal weapon and causing damage. Katz proposed the bill to provide greater protection from indictment to homeowners and farmers who open fire at intruders in self-defense. Sanaa has come to the defense of his Beduin brethren, who have been disproportionately involved in Negev farm thefts. At a stormy session of the Knesset Law Committee on Tuesday, right-wing MKs, including Katz, accused Sanaa of aiding and abetting the burglars. Katz told Sanaa that he had "appointed himself head of the burglars' union." "You don't need a law to stop an intruder," Sanaa told the burly Katz in response. "You could stop a burglar all by yourself." Hours later, the alarm system went off at Katz's ranch in Moshav Kfar Ahim at 1 in the morning. Katz already thought then that the incident's proximity to the Knesset session was odd. When the alarm blasted every 20 minutes or so until 5 a.m., he became more and more suspicious. "Every time I got out of bed, I thought more and more of Taleb a-Sanaa," Katz said. "Sanaa is encouraging more burglaries from his office in the Knesset." Katz complained of "harassment" and said he thought it was no coincidence that burglars were coming to rob him in the middle of the night after the committee meeting, at a time he referred to as "burglar hours." He said burglars often repeatedly set off alarms so farmers would think the alarm system was broken and turn it off. Sanaa responded that he was against burglaries and merely disagreed with the approach to preventing them. He accused Katz of using the story to advance himself politically. "There are burglars of every nationality and ideology," Sanaa said. "Everything Katz said is nonsense. He invented this story to use against me for his own political gain." Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.