Senior coalition member and Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas left the Knesset plenum instead of answering the demand made by the Religious Zionist party chief.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The head of the Islamist Ra’am faction of the coalition walked out of the Knesset plenum Monday to avoid condemning the recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, incurring the wrath of the MK who had demanded that he do so.
“You heard about the terrible terror attack on the Sabbath in the area of Damascus Gate?” Religious Zionist party head Bezalel Smotrich asked Mansour Abbas from the podium. “I hear you reacting to many things here…. Perhaps you want to condemn the attack, to support the Border Police fighters who are doing holy work protecting Jerusalem and its residents, and got to the target and acted correctly and killed this odious terrorist?”
“You’re a senior member of this coalition, Mansour, and your silence is deafening,” Smotrich continued. “Again and again we’re in the midst of a difficult wave of terror attacks and you are a leader in the Moslem Movement, and the leadership shows direction.”
Smotrich was referring to the stabbing Saturday of a young ultra-Orthodox man who was walking outside the Old City of Jerusalem by 25-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Salima. Salima then charged at two Border Police officers, who shot and killed him. The victim is in stable condition with wounds to his back and neck.
This attack came just over two weeks after a terrorist shot and killed South African immigrant Eliyahu Kay in the Old City and wounded four others. Another man was stabbed five times in Jaffa that same day by a Palestinian from Jenin.
At this point, Abbas stood up and began walking away. He then turned and called out, “Even when I spoke you weren’t satisfied, you attacked and cursed.” He continued for another few moments, with his words lost over Smotrich’s amplified voice through the microphone asking him again why he is being silent, and then turned around and left.
“You should stand up and tell your public and whoever listens to you to stop committing terrorist acts….and here you are running away,” Smotrich called after him. “You know what? You’re not running away, you support this terror and encourage it.”
After Kay’s murder, the Arab party did not condemn the attack. Rather, it put out a statement against violence in general – and only in Hebrew. It said that for “decades” the party has condemned and worked “to prevent harm to innocents on both sides…. Ra’am has always called to protect the sanctity of human life and avoid any kind of violence, and strive to live together in peace and security in partnership and tolerance, as stated in Ra’am’s charter.”