Verbal Sparring in Knesset Between Zoabi, MK

MK Aliza Lavie takes Zoabi to task over justifying kidnapping, says comments 'deepen the rift' and betray the public she represents.

Hezki Baruch ,

Hanin Zoabi
Hanin Zoabi

A heated exchange broke out between MK Hanin Zoabi (United Arab List) and Chairman of the Committee on the Status of Women MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) Tuesday, after Lavie took Zoabi to task during a Committee meeting over remarks wholeheartedly supporting Hamas's kidnapping of three yeshiva students. 

"How dare you say that the hijackers are not terrorists?" Lavie stated to Zoabi during the meeting. 

Hanin shouted, "Hutzpah! Shut your mouth, you do not deserve to be the Chairman of the Committee!" in response. 

"What are you, a cop?" Lavie responded. "You're just a racist." 

"We don't talk like that when children are kidnapped by terrorists," Lavie continued. "You hurt the public you represent and take advantage of the crisis to deepen the rift [between Jewish Israelis and Israeli Arabs - ed.]." 

"At this difficult time, the whole country stands united to see the return of the boys," she said. "You need to choose your words carefully, there are also human rights for children." 

Earlier Tuesday, Zoabi stated to a shocked interviewer on Radio Tel Aviv that the "kidnappers are not terrorists" and that the kidnapping is a "last resort" for Palestinian Arabs frustrated by their lives. 

"They are not terrorists, I do not agree with you!" Zoabi fired. "They have seen no other way to change their reality and they have to resort to these measures until Israel sobers up a bit and feels the suffering of others."

Zoabi hung up on interviewer Sharon Gal after the statement, leaving Gal and the audience in shock.

The comments have caused a media firestorm as concern escalates over the safety of the three teenagers, who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists Thursday night while attempted to travel home from school; a security detail has been dispatched to protect Zoabi from the backlash and several MKs have called for her permanent removal from the Knesset.