Zuhair Bahloul
Zuhair BahloulAmir Levy / Flash 90

MK Zuhair Bahloul (Labor) said Thursday that the Labor party is “not a Zionist party,” and that the name given to it in the elections – 'The Zionist Union' – was “a temporary one.”

Speaking on Channel 20, Bahloul said that the name “Zionist Union” is “spiteful” toward the Arab sector, and that “the Arab public cannot be Zionist.”

“The state is Zionist,” he said. “So? Where do I go? I cannot be Zionist because I am an Arab.”

"I am not an anti-Zionist,” he explained. “I define the country as a success story and I think it is an amazing country. It is true that it is corrupt and becoming governmental [sic], but it is still an amazing success story.”

Asked by panleists if he thinks that the Jews of Israel should be scattered throughout the Diaspora again, he replied: “One must recognize the fact that the state of Israel was established on the ruins of Palestine, and Arabs have an aboriginal right in the state and they, too have rights. How can you deny the fact that there were Palestinians here and 500 villages were destroyed?”

Bahloul has made similar statements in the past, including “Our Palestinian identity is stronger than the Israeli one."

Bahloul also provided testimony on behalf of the family of an Arab citizen of Israel from the Galilee convicted of terrorism in a 2012 trial.

Although Bahloul did not praise the terror acts of Milad Khatib, he did not condemn them either, and gave the testimony in the context of a positive character recommendation for the terrorist's family on behalf of the defense.

In response, Bahloul said that the testimony was given on behalf of the Khatib family, and not Milad, “who had gone off the straight path.”

Bahloul is a sports journalist whose florid prose has been famous among Israeli sports fans for decades.