Arabs MKs Visit Libya; Nationalist MK: ‘Let them Stay There’
Six Israeli Arab Knesset Members are visiting Libya, where Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) MKs said they should stay for traveling to a country hostile to Israel. Libya is not a declared enemy state, such as Syria and Lebanon, but is among the most bitter anti-Zionist Muslim countries. It has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
The MKs flew to Tripoli via Amman, along with Libya’s ambassador to Jordan, and are meeting Sunday with Libya’s eccentric dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the first time Israeli legislators have set foot in the country. The Arab MKs previously were not able to travel there because Libya would not recognize their Israeli passports. MK Talab El-Sana said the Israeli delegation’s arrival was a “breakthrough.”
Yisrael Beiteinu MK Moshe Matalon commented, “I suggest the Arab MKs stay in Libya with Gaddafi," who currently is the rotating president of the Arab League. "Israelis will not shed a tear if they stay there with one of the worst Israel-haters. Time after time Arab MKs prove where their loyalty is, and the nation must reach the obvious conclusion from their visit to a hostile state.”
Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh, who often has been accused of inciting Arabs to violence, said it is “natural” for him and his colleagues to visit Libya. The legislators are staying in a luxurious beachside hotel in Tripoli, and the local scenery prompted Barakeh to compare one beachside site with Akko (Acre).
Barakeh has often condemned Israel for allegedly denying rights to Arabs throughout Israel, including Israeli citizens. Bar-Ilan University’s Dr. Mordechai Kedar noted the contradiction of the Arab MKs visiting a country that denies civil rights to its citizens.
He said that the Arab legislators should “remain in Libya and sit around the campfire with Gaddafi.” He also called on Israeli authorities to revoke the citizenship of the legislators’ entourage from Israel.
Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem, also of Yisrael Beiteinu, stated, “Their visit to a country that identifies with Israel’s worst enemies is a slap in the face to Israeli citizens and again reveals their lack of loyalty” to Israel. “This visit is a direct continuation of the demonstration that they held on Independence Day with hundreds of Arab citizens.”