Daily Israel Report

Bayit Yehudi MK Complains Against Arab MK's Abuse

MK Zevulun Kalfa files a complaint against MK Jamal Zahalka, who physically and verbally abused him during a stormy debate.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/5/2013, 12:46 AM

MK Zevulun Kalfa
MK Zevulun Kalfa
Flash 90

MK Zevulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi) has filed a complaint with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee against Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad).

Kalfa’s complaint was filed on Monday evening, hours after Zahalka physically and verbally attacked him during a stormy debate at the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee.

The debate, which focused on the implementation of equal Jewish prayer rights at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, degenerated into a shouting match as Arab Knesset Members used threatening words and aggressive body language to disrupt the meeting.

Zahalka called Kalfa a “fascist, racist, settler, occupier” and then proceeded to try and physically push him out of the room. Knesset ushers prevented him from doing so.

Following the incident, Kalfa told Arutz Sheva, "Even the sacred democracy and freedom of speech have their limits. A Knesset Member cannot allow himself to use foul language and behave like a haggler. That is not the way. Arab Knesset members have gone too far; if they have something to say, they should do so in a civilized and respectful manner, and not in way that demeans both them and the Knesset.”

Zahalka, as do many other Arab MKs, has a history of controversial sayings and actions. In May of 2009 he was forcibly removed from the Knesset after he shouted that a proposed law calling for jail for rejecting Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is “racist”, and conducting a shouting match with then MK Aryeh Eldad.

In the past, Zahalka took part in a conference in India aimed at putting an end to Israel-India ties. During the conference Zahalka told Indians to stop purchasing Israeli arms because they are, he claimed, ineffective. He has also openly expressed his opinions that Israel should not be considered a Jewish state.

Most recently, Zahalka lectured in Toronto, where he denounced “Israeli apartheid”. The Knesset’s Ethics Committee later decided not to sanction him for the inciting comments.