Rightist Knesset members strongly criticized Minister Raleb Majadele Saturday, after he said in an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth this weekend that he refuses to sing Israel's national anthem, Hatikva.
In the interview, Majadele said, "Of course I would not sing the anthem in its current form. But before we talk about symbols, I want
to talk about equal education for my children. It's more important that my son would be able to buy a house, live with dignity… the Arabs are not in a mood to sing right now."
Majadele told Ynet following interview that, "As a government minister, I swore allegiance to the laws of the State of Israel, and I intend to honor them." Majadele noted that he expresses his respect to the national anthem by standing up whenever the song is being sung.
"To the best of my knowledge, the law does not require me to sing the anthem, but to honor it. I fail to understand how an enlightened, sane Jew allows himself to ask a Muslim person with a different language and culture, to sing an anthem that was written for Jews only," he added.
'Majadele must apologize'
Majadele's statements prompted harsh responses among right-wing MKs. MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) said that a man who refuses to sing the national anthem should not be a minister.
"I don't want to force Minister Majadele to sing the anthem, but I don't want to see as a minister a man who does not identify with Israel's character, and who declares he does not identify with the national anthem," he stated.
MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP) was also furious with Majadele's words and said that the prime minister should order the minister to apologize.
"Majadele's statements should raise deep concern. They represent a clear violation of his ministerial oath to be loyal to the State of Israel and its laws. I call on the prime minister to demand that he make it clear he is loyal to the State of Israel as a Jewish state," he declared.
Tibi: Attacks are hypocritical
Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi voiced his support for Majadele, and said that he too never sings the anthem.
"The attacks on him from the Right are hypocritical, self-righteous and ridiculous. Hatikva's words cannot be sung by any Arab citizen," Tibi said, adding that any reasonable Jew should sympathize with this sentiment, "Including honest rightists who have already accepted the fact that the words are aimed at the Jewish, not the Arab, soul."
"Lately we have witnessed a torrent of anti-Arab statements, and this should be understood in this context," he concluded.