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Israeli Arab MK Suspended from Knesset Debates for 6 Months

07-01-2016
MK Haneen Zoabi, screen capture
MK Haneen Zoabi, screen capture

JERUSALEM, Israel – Arab Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) has been suspended from participating in debates on the Knesset floor for six months after calling Israeli soldiers who boarded the Turkish flotilla's flagship, Mavi Marmara, in 2010 "murderers."

Her remarks, which nearly sparked a brawl on the Knesset floor, prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ask Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to explore legal avenues for suspending her permanently.

The Knesset Ethics Committee received a record number of complaints against her, with Likud MK Nava Boker saying Zoabi's brand of incitement "encourages terrorist attacks on Jews and the murder of children in their beds."

Zoabi sailed on the Mavi Marmara, along with about 40 pro-Palestinian activists, insisting it was her right to do so. The only consequence she suffered was a temporary suspension of some of her parliamentary privileges.

It's not her first suspension. The outspoken MK, a resident of Nazareth who lost her bid for mayor in the last election, has never tamped down her animosity toward Israel.

In an op-ed entitled "Making a mockery of democracy," posted by the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, Dr. Haim Shine said "Zoabi has been mocking the Israeli democracy, trampling its dignity, manipulating it for her own purposes."

"The Israeli democracy, in which we take so much pride, has become a weapon in Zoabi's hands and mouth," Shine wrote.

"Every day that she continues to serve as an MK, the alienation and polarization between Jews and Arabs intensifies," he continued. "Her extremist declaration may very well inspire young Israeli Aras to join terrorist organizations and target Israeli citizens, as we've seen in various murderous incidents lately."

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