Arab List Head 'Fought Police at Every Protest'

Ayman Odeh reveals investigations for being radical Arab activist during intifada, his 'paranoia,' and how he assaulted police officers.

Reut Hadar, Ari Yashar ,

Ayman Odeh
Ayman Odeh
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Ayman Odeh, chairman of the joint Arab list and first time MK, has already revealed parts of his subversive past - in a new interview with Channel 2 he divulged how his radical activism during the first intifada that began in 1987 brought him under investigation, and how he assaulted Israeli police officers.

At the age of 13, just a year after the bloody intifada terror war began, Odeh went to protest against Israel in the Arab Israeli town of Sakhnin known for its radical Arab nationalism.

"In tenth grade they summoned me to a Shabak (Israel Security Agency - ed.) facility in Haifa, two youths were sitting there - one named Chaim and the other named Aviv," he recalled in the interview.

Odeh recounts how the two "started to investigate me about being a political activist during the period of the first intifada, they summoned me again and again."

According to the Arab list chairman, the investigation of his subversive activism caused him to reach "a very difficult psychological state, so much so that when I would get off a bus and see someone sitting at the station I would think it was someone from Shabak pursuing me, it was the most severe paranoia."

Odeh, who is now 40-years-old, said the investigations "almost destroyed my life - they distanced me from my friends, they said that someone informed on me, I was full of rage."

Revealing his criminal assaults on law enforcement personnel, Odeh stated "at every protest I would fight with the officers, sometimes also with (physical) blows - I felt that I was getting back at them. Sometimes they also arrested me with handcuffs on my arms and handcuffs on my legs."

Terror background

Odeh, who became secretary general of the Arab Communist Hadash party in 2006, previously revealed how he was arrested numerous times in his youth for taking part in violent protests.

He admitted that his political outlook growing up was influenced by the growth of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – internationally recognized as a terrorist organization until the onerous status was removed in the 1993 Oslo Accords – along with the Lebanon War in 1982 and the so-called First Intifada terror war that began in 1987.

"At home, we talked of nothing but these events and they filled the press and forged my convictions," he said, indicating his identification with the rise of the PLO and the bloody terror war that brought death on Israel.

In 2001, shortly after the start of the Second Intifada or Oslo terror war as it is conversely known, the 17-year-old brother of his wife Nardin Asleh was killed while taking part in a violent clash with Israeli police.

On the Haifa city council he tried to make the mixed city become more Arab by, among other things, getting many streets with Hebrew names renamed in Arabic. And in 2006 he met with Druze leaders to try to convince them to refuse IDF service.