A heated confrontation erupted between ninth-grade students from the Rogozin High School in Kiryat Ata near Haifa, and Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) during a class visit to the Knesset on Thursday.
The students reported that during a lecture, the MK called the IDF soldiers who stopped the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla "murderers." The students walked out of the lecture and sent letters of complaint to several government ministers over the issue.
"We came to learn from the MKs and their role in government [. . .] but she began to talk about the Mavi Marmara incident and said our soldiers were 'murderers,'" one student told Yedioth Aharonoth.
The students did not take the insult to the IDF lightly.
"Students told her she should be ashamed of her words," the student said. "We are being drafted in the army in four years, our brothers serve in the army and we should not be hearing things like that from representatives of the public in the State of Israel."
"What kind of message is she sending?" the student added. "I think we've been exposed to incitement which opposed the very word 'democracy' in the context of a democratic state."
"We think the Ministry of Education and Chairman of the Knesset should actively supervise [the Knesset] visitors center," another student told the daily. "She told us that everyone needed to be with her on the Mavi Marmara. She [also] kept saying she was a Palestinian who is 'proud' of Israel."
"The teacher responded to her, she stood up and said, 'This is a Jewish state and you are an Israeli Palestinian," the student added. "We expect an apology over her words."
"Murder" on the Marmara?
On May 31, 2010 the Mavi Marmara tried to breach the IDF's legal blockade on Gaza, ruled by terrorist group Hamas. When IDF soldiers boarded the vessel, they were attacked by armed Islamist extremists on board, pressing them to open fire and kill ten Turkish nationals to save their own lives.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the Marmara was carrying no humanitarian aid, contrary to its claims to international media to be a "humanitarian" mission.
MK Zoabi, who took part in the flotilla, told the students that "the 'Freedom Flotilla' was against the criminal blockade on Gaza. The IDF, as always, is the aggressor, violently attacking innocent civilians."
"The blockade is a crime, and the Marmara represented the heights of humanity and morality," she continued. "Please do not confuse the repressive aggressor and the freedom fighter." It should be noted that Israel's blockade on Gaza was deemed legal by the UN in 2010.
Zoabi also responded to the specific incident, claiming that defending the IDF is not a "truthful" portrayal of the State of Israel.
"It's a shame that teachers and administrators expose innocent youths to a false demagoguery, and is not giving the future generation tools to deal with the moral wrongs of the regime and the state that are supposed to represent them," she said.
Zoabi is infamous for provocative speeches, including one in which she said that Israel has “no right to a normal life” and a later address claiming that “the Israeli occupation” was behind the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria. Recently, she declared that Israel should "thank her" for allowing Jews to live in the Jewish State.