'Remove this disgrace from the people of Israel'

Coalition chairman initiating legislation to prevent Hadash chairman in Haifa from being appointed deputy mayor.

Hezki Baruch,

David Amsalem
David Amsalem
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Coalition chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) is initiating an amendment to the Local Authorities Law that will prevent the chairman of the Hadash faction in the Haifa city council, Raja Za'atara, from being appointed a paid deputy mayor.

The appointment of Za’atara by Haifa’s new mayor, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, has sparked outrage following reports he had expressed support for terrorist organizations.

Amsalem’s proposed amendment, he said on Monday, is due to Za’atara’s "anti-Israeli activity, which includes, among other things, the establishment of an organization aimed at promoting the international boycott of Israel, organizing conferences and projects supporting the boycott, active opposition to recruiting young people from Arab society to national service and extreme statements comparing ISIS to Zionism and backing Hamas and Hezbollah.”

The Local Authorities Law stipulates that every deputy head of a local authority shall be elected from amongst the members of the council on the proposal of the head of the authority, which was approved by the council by a majority of its members.

The current situation allows the head of the authority to propose his deputies to the council, even if one of them is a person who expressed solidarity and public support for terrorist organizations calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Amsalem’s amendment is intended to nullify the authority of the council to approve the proposal of the head of the authority to appoint a council member to the position of deputy head who, before he was appointed as a council member, expressed solidarity and public support for terrorist organizations.

According to the proposal, if the local authority council decides to approve the appointment of a deputy head of the authority who expressed support for a terrorist organization, the amendment to the law grants the interior minister the authority to cancel this appointment of the council subject to a hearing for the candidate.

"Raja Za'atara belongs in prison, certainly not in the position of deputy mayor. I submitted a bill that would grant the interior minister the authority to cancel the appointment of a deputy mayor who expressed solidarity and public support for terrorist organizations calling for the destruction of the State of Israel, subject to a hearing."

"I will bring the proposal to the Knesset as quickly as possible in order to remove this disgrace from the people of Israel, it is shameful. I do not believe that such a thing could happen in any other country in the world," Amsalem said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about Za’atara’s appointment, saying he had asked Kalisch-Rotem to cancel the appointment.

Kalisch-Rotem, however, rejected Netanyahu's demand and made clear that the agreements with Hadash were coalition agreements and that she did not intend to violate them.


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