'Where are condemnations of Arab nationalist party?'

Knesset Speaker pushes back on attacks against Otzma Yehudit faction, says critics should first condemn radical anti-Israel Arab MKs.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yuli Edelstein
Yuli Edelstein
Hezki Baruch

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) pushed back Monday morning against the wave of criticism aimed at the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, over his backing for an alliance bringing the Otzma Yehudit faction onto the Jewish Home-National Union ticket for this year’s election.

“Over the past few days I’ve heard discussions on the union of three Religious Zionist parties, including Otzma Yehudit. I think that it is an important discussion, but I do not understand why it is focused on Michael Ben-Ari,” referring to the former National Union MK and current Knesset candidate from Otzma.

“If we want to see a Knesset without any radical representatives, we need to start with Balad, whose [former] MK is sitting in prison for aiding terrorists – and then there’s Hanin Zoabi, whom we don’t even need to discuss,” said Edelstein, referring to the Arab nationalist party, Balad.

In 2016, Balad MK Basel Ghattas was arrested after he was caught smuggling cell phones to jailed Hamas terrorists, and serving as a go-between for jailed terrorists and their contacts on the outside.

“I’ve always said that, before anything else, we need to deal with our own radicals, which is why I, when it was necessary, said how I felt about Otzma Yehudit – and my views were not particularly positive. But when someone uses that to make a political discussion out of it, that’s something else. We need to decide whether the Knesset is open to everyone who has a voter base which sends him to the Knesset, or if we need to put boundaries. If and when we decide to put up boundaries, I’ll be ready to continue the discussion about the radical right, but right now the situation is that Balad, which doesn’t recognize the State of Israel, is part of the Knesset.”