Arab party spokesman banned from Knesset after assaulting Jewish candidate

In the incident that occurred Thursday, Za’atara is seen hounding Ben Gvir and then physically blocking him.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin announced Sunday night that Raja Za’atara, spokesman of the Arab Hadash party, who assaulted Adv. Itamar Ben Gvir, a candidate of the Religious Zionist list for the Knesset, was banned from the Knesset by a decision of the Knesset guard until further notice.

In the incident that occurred Thursday, Za’atara is seen hounding Ben Gvir and then physically blocking him.

In a statement sent by Levin to human rights organization B’Tsalmo’s CEO Shai Glick, who filed the complaint with the Knesset Speaker against Za’atara, he wrote that “as soon as I learned of the incident, I asked the Knesset officer, Superintendent Yossi Griff, to act as soon as possible to examine the case and pass on to me the results of the examination and his recommendations…

“I will also note that in view of the seriousness of the incident, the Knesset officer decided that until the end of the investigation, Mr. Za’atara’s entry into the Knesset building will be prevented,” he said.

“I have made an exception and instructed to enable the Israel Police to watch the Knesset security camera footage so that it will have all the tools at its disposal for a quick and comprehensive treatment of this incident,” he added.

Ben Gvir welcomed “the important decision to remove the terrorism supporter” and BDS supporter from the Knesset and expressed hope that “the full extent of the law will be exhausted.”

Za’atara was one of the organizers of the BDS’ “Israeli Apartheid Week” in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth in 2013.

“In the next Knesset, we will work to ensure that not only Za’atara will not be in the Knesset, but all fans and embracers of the terrorists from the Joint List,” Ben Gvir said.

Several members of the Arab-majority Joint List have been embroiled in controversies over their glorification of terrorism and support of boycotts on the Jewish state.

Ben Gvir, a right-wing activist, is a candidate on the Religious Zionist list, and the latest polls show that he will serve in the upcoming Knesset. Some elements in the Knesset consider him an extremist who should be boycotted.