MK Jamal Zahalka
MK Jamal Zahalka Flash 90

Following Monday's terror attack, the Lavi organization has asked police to open a criminal investigation against MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) for incitement.

The group's letter to Deputy Commissioner Meni Yitzhaki, the head of the police intelligence and investigative branch, notes that Zahalka has frequently made inflammatory statements regarding the Temple Mount and the ongoing wave of terror. Many public figures, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have already condemned him for his remarks, yet he remains undeterred.

In an interview with the news site Alwatan, MK Zahalka spoke about the second and "third" intifadas, saying: "In the second intifada we sacrificed 4,000 shahids (martyrs) for the al-Aqsa Mosque. Our people is dedicated to the mosque and we defend it with all of our strength. The Palestinian people are the mosque's guardians.

"Jews going up to the Temple Mount are the cause of the third intifada, whose continuation in the West Bank and in Jerusalem is dependent on Palestinian organizations joining the fight. The question is whether the groups will join the popular fight and act across the homeland... We must stop Jews from going up to the Temple Mount, regardless of the cost, and we must join together to defend the holy sites."

Lavi noted that, "In these statements, whose connection and purpose is clear, Zahalka mentions the sacrifice of shahids (terrorists) in the second intifada and calls on terror organizations to carry out a third intifada.

"These remarks are not just scandalous but also criminal when they go beyond the law. As enshrined in clause 144D-2(A-B) of the penal code, they constitute incitement to violence and terror."

The organization claims that Zahalka's immunity as a Knesset member should not cover these statements. "Zahalka's remarks qualify as incitement to racism for belonging to a national ethnic group, as well as supporting terror against Jews simply for being Jews. They are likely to lead to bloodshed, as Zahalka is an elected official and his statements take on strong meaning for a large portion of the population. In light of this, we ask you to instruct the appropriate unit to investigate MK Zahalka and to recommend prosecution."

Lavi is dedicated to issues of civil rights and proper governance.