Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir on Friday criticized the police, the state attorney and Israeli media for their harsh reaction to a Thursday incident, in which a Jewish man threw hot tea in the face of Arab MK Ahmad Tibi (Raam Taal).
The police have arrested the man, announcing an indictment will be delivered Friday morning and requesting to keep him in jail till the end of proceedings.
Ben-Gvir spoke with Arutz Sheva, contrasting the event with an attack in February 2010, when an Arab woman splashed a bottle of water on former MK Michael Ben-Ari in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem.
"In that incident the police didn't request to arrest the Arab until the end of proceedings, and more than that, she wasn't even arrested for a single day, but rather summoned for investigation and released afterwards," remarked Ben-Gvir.
The lawyer notes that when nationalist Ben-Ari was the victim, the police did not submit an indictment immediately, instead waiting many weeks to submit a very lax indictment. This handling of the indictment stands in sharp contrast to the current swift actions.
"If that's not enough," adds Ben-Gvir, "in the case itself the punishment that was decreed was a laughable suspended sentence, while in this tea incident from Be'er Sheva the police are requesting confinement until the end of proceedings, which usually indicates they will request a punishment of jail time."
According to Ben-Gvir, the incident shows a policy of double-standards which he says must be change.
"It is unacceptable that the Israeli police and law enforcement authorities should form their position on imprisonment requests, the type of crime and punishment demanded, based on the identity of the person and not according to clear uniform criterion," comments Ben-Gvir.
While the lawyer noted that the tea-thrower's motives are unclear, and it's unclear if he's "rightist or a leftist that wanted to send internal criticism," he remarked that "what is clear is that the Israeli police are acting here from unprofessional motives, lacking any legal basis."
"It was funny to me reading the police announcement to the news media yesterday, where they say the man was arrested after an intensive investigation - what intensive investigation was there?" asks Ben-Gvir, adding "he threw tea, a cop came and arrested him."
The problem is much more widespread according to Ben-Gvir, as the Israeli media is complicit in the double-standards.
"When Ben-Ari was attacked we had video footage," the lawyer notes, recalling that the vast majority of news editors didn't want to use it, saying "it wasn't interesting, and wasn't a serious attack."
Ben-Gvir argues that in the recent incident with Tibi "you can see how he recovers (from the tea), and it's clear there's no serious damage, but it didn't stop the Israeli media from dealing with an event they define as serious again and again and again - it's simply a hypocrisy festival."
Tibi is a former advisor to Yasser Arafat and has been involved in countless incidents of incitement, including a speech praising Arab terrorist “martyrs” he delivered at Ramallah. For years, he had a poster of Arafat in his Knesset bureau, visible to people passing in the corridor.
The Arab MK's encounter with the hot tea can be seen here: