Knesset plenum
Knesset plenumKnesset spokesman

Members of the Joint Arab List issued a provocative statement at the swearing-in of the 24th Knesset today (Tues, April 6).

The first party MK to arrive for the ceremony, Sami Abu Shehadeh, changed the original wording of the pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel to, "I swear to fight the Zionist Occupation. I swear to fight the Apartheid regime." Asked by Knesset speaker Yariv Levin to correct his "mistake," Abu Shehadeh repeated the previous statement. MK Aida Toma Suleiman, the List's sole Jewish MK Ofer Cassif and party chairman Ayman Odeh followed suit, vowing to fight the state they were elected to serve.

Important to note is that according to statute 16 of the Knesset Basic Law, an MK who doesn't vow allegiance to the State "will not benefit from the rights allotted to Knesset members so long as he fails to do so."

Based on this legal statute, Joint List members will be required to follow through with the correct wording of the oath at an upcoming Knesset session if they wish to benefit from rights reserved for Israel's MKs.

To follow up on the day's events, as the National Anthem was about to be played before the closing of the session, Joint List MKs were seen leaving the hall, leading to a verbal exchange with other members of the assembly.