Deri wants to block appointment of Hamas-supporting communist

Deri says he will examine ways to block appointment of Deputy Haifa Mayor Raja Za’atara, who is under fire for terror and BDS support.

Tzvi Lev ,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said on Friday that he will examine legal means to block a candidate who has professed support for Hezbollah and Hamas from taking office.

"Raja Za'atara, a member of the Haifa city council, expressed his support for Hezbollah and Hamas, supported the boycott of Israel and expressed support for activities against Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," said Deri.

"I asked the attorney general to examine whether I had the authority to prevent this, and I very much hope that he will approve it."

Deri's remarks come as the backlash to Za'tara's appointment continues to grow. Za'atara, a member of the communist Hadash party, has founded a BDS organization in the past and posted messages of support for the Hezbollah terror militia on Facebook.

According to Israeli law, Za'tara's salary needs the approval of the interior minister.

Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch Rotem has aroused a storm of controversy after announcing that she appoint Za'atara to the city's second-highest post. On Thursday, Likud lawmaker Yoav Kisch penned a letter to Deri asking him to ban Deputy Haifa Mayor Raja Za’atara from taking office.

"I call upon the interior minister to announce today that he will reject the request of Haifa Mayor Einat Kalish Rotem and not approve the salary of the deputy mayor of the fifth city, Raja Za'atara," wrote Kisch.

"I believe that you have the power to completely prevent the appointment of an anti-Israel terror supporter."