MK Ram Ben Barak
MK Ram Ben BarakNoam Moskowitz, Knesset spokesperson

The chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid), decided to reinstate his Muslim assistant who was photographed with a terrorist supporter on the Temple Mount.

In an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night, Ben Barak responded to the allegations against her and said, "The publication is incorrect and she did not participate in any forum. My assistant, a religious Arab, prays at Al-Aqsa sometimes and at the event in question she did something with tour guides at the mosque. At the end of the tour, people who were there showed up, she was photographed with them and one of them is a person who has made unsympathetic remarks."

"I decided to suspend her until I clarified the matter. I investigated this, including a conversation with the Knesset officer and with Israel Security Agency personnel. Maybe she will hear this through you - but I have decided to reinstate her. The only thing that is wrong about this is that I did not know about it in advance and I think she was wrong in her judgment," the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee added. He further claimed that his assistants were not exposed to any sensitive materials being discussed the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

MK Ben Barak also commented on the confrontation that broke out in the plenum this week between him and MK Miri Regev, in which she called him a "hater of Israel" during a discussion on the "Cultural Loyalty" bill which Regev submitted and which did not pass.

"I went to her to tell her to take the bereaved families out of the political debate. She and [MK David] Amsalem shouted at me that I am an 'enemy of Israel who employs terrorists in his bureau and is a terrorist supporter,'" he said.

"My assistant is not a supporter of terrorism. More than 85% of Israeli Arabs identify with the state. We have an excellent Shin Bet, I certainly do not endanger the security of the state," said Ben Barak.