For the second time in a day, MK Ahmed Tibi engaged in a shouting match with Jewish MKs, when he called MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) a “Kahanist” for comments he made during a discussion before the approval of a law raising the legal marriage age to 18.
Ze'ev said that the law was necessary in order to protect Jewish girls from Arabs, who attempted to seduce them, marry them, and hold them captive in their villages. “Muslims have no problem marrying Jewish girls, since as far as they are concerned, the religion of the children will be determined patrilineally, and they will consider them Muslims.” Under Jewish law, however, those children would be considered Jewish, as Judaism determines the religion of children based on the mother's religion.
“Theoretically, a 16 year old Jewish girl could be taken to a Muslim village, where they will be forced to remain,” Ze'ev added, as Tibi shouted him down, calling him a “racist” and “just like Kahane,” referring to Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Jewish leader who was known for his uncompromising views on Jewish rights in the Land of Israel, and the need to encourage Jewish settlement throughout the entire country.
The reason Arabs preferred Jewish girls, said Ze'evi, was because they could not express their lust in their conservative communities, lest they anger a father or brother, who might come after them, to injure or kill them for "dishonoring the family." Nevertheless, Ze'evi said, he opposes the law, as it will negatively impact on the hareidi community, where young people often marry under age 18. Legislation to allow Jews to marry, while preventing Arabs from taking Jewish girls captive, was what was necessary, he said.
Joining in the criticism of Ze'ev was Meretz head MK Zehava Gal'on, who said that Ze'ev was “confused,” to the extent that “your right hand doesn't know what your left hand is doing.”
The law to raise the age of marriage was sponsored by MKs Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Dov Hanin (Hadash), and was passed on its second and third reading Monday night. The law raises the minimum age for marriage to 18 from its former 17. Intervention by a court will be necessary in order to allow youths under that age to marry.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 11,747 females under 18 years of age married in Israel in 2011.
Earlier, Tibi accused MKs on the right of “starting another intifada” because of their support for Jews who wished to pray on the Temple Mount.
According to a proposed law, tabled by MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi/Jewish Home), daily prayer hours would be set for Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site. The laws, if passed, would be a monumental upholding of Israel's official stance of religious freedom. While Israel officially liberated the Temple Mount from Arab occupation during the 1967 Six Day War, the government controversially handed back control of the Mount to the Islamic Waqf foundation, which has been accused of implementing a campaign of Islamization, including the systematic destruction of Jewish artifacts, aimed at erasing all traces of Jewish history at the site.
During the stormy debate over the law, Regev explained the rationale behind it, saying that "We cannot have a situation in which a state cannot realize its sovereignty and people can't pray at sites holy to them."
Regev further stressed that "we don't want to go into Al Aqsa [mosque] or prevent you (Muslims) from praying there, but want to enable Jews to pray on the compound as well."
But MK Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash) warned that Arab MKs would physically prevent the implementation of equal prayer rights at the Temple Mount, shouting that "Whoever comes to defile the Al Aqsa Mosque will find us there!"
That remark prompted MK Regev to retort: "Is that a threat?”
MK Ahmed Tibi joined the fray, warning that: "The Second Intifada began because of Al Aqsa, and because of you it will erupt because of Al Aqsa... you are a pyromaniac."
"You say that as a friend of Yasser Arafat," said MK Orit Struk (Bayit Yehudi).
"I am proud to be Arafat's friend... his shoe is worth ten like you...", replied Tibi, who later called out at a female MK who was off-camera, possibly MK Struk, "You are a dangerous woman, a pyromaniac. You endanger your children, not just ours... You are a lowly settler.. on the land of others..."
In September, Tibi sparked controversy by declaring that the Temple Mount “is a place of prayer for Muslims alone," and accusing Jewish worshippers of "contaminating" it by visiting it.