Arab MK loses cool in Knesset

'Racists and fascists, you only want death,' MK Zahalka says during Muezzin Law debate; MK Yogev: 'You're a terrorist, go to Syria.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Zahalka loses cool
Zahalka loses cool
Hezki Baruch

MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) burst out shouting during a Muezzin Law debate this afternoon in the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.

"You're racists and fascists, you only want death," shouted Zahalka. MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), who initiated the Muezzin Law, replied, "Go to parliament in Syria, terrorist."

The law, initiated by Yogev and MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), forbids muezzins from sounding during late evening and early morning hours.

Israel already has a law banning loud noise after 11:00 p.m., but it is not enforced for muezzins.

Yogev continued: "We have nothing against the worshipers; I myself am a religious person. But we mustn't steal sleep. In many countries in the world, even Arab countries, it's forbidden to sound a muezzin in the middle of the night. This is the case in Egypt, the Netherlands, China, Germany, and France," Yogev explained.

"We received requests from both Jews and Arabs, teachers, students, and drivers to do something about the muezzin noise issue. There's no reason or justification to awaken residents in the middle of the night. There were no loudspeakers a hundred years ago, and today there's an alarm clock or an app. This is a justifiable law. It's time to restore quiet to the streets and residents," he added.

Earlier today, a deal between haredi and Arab Knesset Members was exposed, by which the haredim would drop support for the Muezzin Law in exchange for Arab support for the Draft Law.

MK Yogev attacked the haredi parties, "To continue evading enlistment, in exchange for Arab support for the Draft Law, and to bring down the Noise Law amendment in return, the haredim would sell the Land of Israel, the State of Israel; the haredim would sell the sleep of Israeli citizens to avoid the draft," he said.

"No-one's exempt from conscription into the Israel Defense Forces. This is a great mitzvah, just as no-one's who is exempt from Torah study in the Jewish people. How to do it and advance the law, we'll look into further," added the Jewish Home Knesset Member.

Yogev's words came in consequence of a statement made by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) in the Knesset Finance Committee's morning meeting.

Replying to MK Ahmad Tibi's (Joint Arab List) point of order regarding the Muezzin Law, Gafni said: "We agreed that this law won't continue; it's a preliminary one, and that's the agreement between us. After I and MK Tibi spoke, I think this law mustn't advance. I spoke with the coalition chairman and with the proposal's initiator, and that's the position of United Torah Judaism and Shas. It's a law that just stirs upset and doesn't do anything.

"There's a law to prevent noise that can address the issue. The police aren't using the means at their disposal to stop the noise. If it passes, it'll only be used against the haredim; I don't think it has any practical benefit. What it will do is to cause the average Indonesian to think Israel wants to stop muezzins in the mosques. I also spoke with the Constitution Committee Chairman; even if there'll be a discussion there'll be no vote," Gafni said.