Arab MK Odeh: I Won't Fight With Nazareth Mayor

After he was chastised Sunday by Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, Joint List head Ayman Odeh had his chance to respond Monday.

Moshe Cohen,

Joint Arab list head Ayman Odeh
Joint Arab list head Ayman Odeh
Danielle Shitrit/Flash 90

After he was chastised in front of the country Sunday by Nazareth Mayor Ali Salem, Join List head Ayman Odeh had his chance to respond Monday.

Speaking on Channel Two, which on Sunday showed Salam yelling at Odeh for “ruining Nazareth,” Odeh said that when Salem criticized him he had plenty to say, but decided not to respond.

I did not intend to fight the mayor in front of the cameras,” said Odeh. “It's not right. Instead I decided to do the responsible thing. Our struggle is civil, and civilian,” he said of the protests by Arab MKs in recent weeks – which many Israelis have said were outright incitement to riot.

On Sunday, as Channel Two reporter Roni Buzaglo reported on how Israeli Jews had in recent days avoided the city, leaving restaurants, markets, and shops nearly empty, Ali Salem, was seen shouting at Odeh, accusing him of “ruining” the city.

The unrest throughout Israel, in which dozens of stabbings and rock attacks have taken place in recent weeks, has caused a dearth of traffic in public places throughout the country, and has badly hurt the economy of Israeli Arab-owned businesses in Nazareth, Jaffa, Ramle, and other areas with large Arab populations.

Salam, frustrated with the situation, spotted as he was speaking to the Channel Two reporter – and in the midst of the interview, began screaming at the MK in Arabic, telling him how he had “ruined this city, ruined everything. We did not have even one Jew here today, not one.

What are giving interviews for? You have done nothing! You have destroyed the world! Get Out if here!,” screamed Salem, venting his frustration.

Earlier, the mayor told Army Radio that “this cannot go on. We must find a way to live together. We are all only hurting ourselves. The leaders are destroying coexistence, which is our future.”

Speaking Monday, Odeh said that it was unfair to blame him for Nazareths' situation. “If Jews don't come to Nazareth, Arabs don't go to Afula. There is fear on both sides. The struggle is not between citizens. I call on the Jews to come to Nazareth and the Arabs to go to Afula, Hadera, and Jaffa.”




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