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Opposition Head Slams Zoabi's 'Obscene' Support for Kidnappers

Labor party leader Yitzchak Herzog compares radical Arab MK's defense of Israeli teens' abduction to 'price tag' crimes.
By Ari Soffer and Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/18/2014, 12:46 PM

Hanin Zoabi
Hanin Zoabi
Flash 90

Israel's opposition leader, Labor party head Yitzhak Herzog, has joined condemnation of extremist Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, after she shocked Israelis by defending the abduction of three teens and saying that their kidnappers were not terrorists.

In a letter to the Arab nationalist Balad party MK, Herzog compared her words to "price tagging", and said he viewed her statements "with the utmost severity".

"At the height of the campaign to return the boys, you chose to utter obscene words which supported the kidnapping," said Herzog.

"These statements are harmful to peace and coexistence, no less than price tag acts," he added, referring to politically-motivated crimes committed by Jewish extremists.

It should be noted that left-wing MKs, including Herzog, have rushed to condemn price tag acts, with many even branding them "terrorism".

"More importantly," Herzog continued, "These statements cause great pain to the families, who are waiting anxiously to know the fate of their sons."

Herzog explained that Zoabi's statements were particularly damaging for the Arab sector, which her and her party are seen as representing.

He called on her to retract her words.

That seems unlikely to happen, however, as Zoabi reiterated her statements in an interview just this morning.

Speaking to Army Radio Wednesday, she repeated that she "cannot see [the kidnappers] as terrorists," and refused to say that she would see the act as terrorism even if the three boys turned out to have been murdered.

"There will be more kidnapping if you don't remove the context of occupation," she stated. "The main terror is that perpetrated by Israeli society... The state of Israel has abducted thousands of Palestinians whom it holds in its jails."

Kadima party head MK Shaul Mofaz also added his voice to the chorus of condemnation, and demanded to have Zoabi put on trial.

"Hanin Zoabi, we've had it up to here with you," he said. "I did not plan to pay any attention to your stupid statements but I find it hard to hold it in and I must correct you – that is terrorism and you are encouraging terrorism. You belong in jail." 

MK Zoabi also told Army Radio that her relative, "Muslim Zionist" Mohammed Zoabi, is "not sane", after he voiced his opposition to the abduction.