MK Zevulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi), who was physically and verbally abused by Arab MK Jamal Zahalka during a stormy debate at the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Monday, hopes that punitive actions will be taken against Zahalka and the other Arab MKs who interrupted the discussion.
The discussion centered on the implementation of equal Jewish prayer rights at Jerusalem's Temple Mount. It degenerated into a shouting match as Arab Knesset Members used threatening words and aggressive body language to disrupt the meeting.
Kalfa has already filed a complaint against Zahalka with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee. Zahalka referred to Kalfa as 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.
“It is outrageous to see citizens in this country who have rights, but once they are reminded they have obligations too and are corrected regarding their thinking about the Temple Mount, they resort to using verbal and physical violence,” he told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday.
"We must not let them distort history and claim that the Holy Temple never existed. Maybe it’s the Al-Aqsa mosque that is virtual,” added Kalfa. “If we’re speaking about the anti-Semitism in the world, we should deal first with the anti-Semitism in Israel."
“This was very serious and I hope the Ethics Committee will treat yesterday’s attack seriously,” Kalfa said, adding, “I wasn’t scared from the physical violence because I’m a pretty big guy.”
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.
He has openly expressed his opinions that Israel should not be considered a Jewish state and, most recently, denounced “Israeli apartheid” during a lecture in Toronto, Canada. The Knesset’s Ethics Committee later decided not to sanction him for the inciting comments.