A co-leader of the predominantly Arab Joint List stormed off the Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Knesset on Thursday in protest of radical right-winger Itamar Ben-Gvir being given a platform to speak.
Israelis on Thursday observed two-minute silence and held a host of official ceremonies in remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The event in Knesset kicked off shortly after the main ceremony at Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, with almost no restrictions as Israel's coronavirus outbreak continues to die out with over half of its population now vaccinated.
The ceremony at Knesset is characterized by the reading of Holocaust victims' names as well as speeches from high-profile officials, which this year included President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut.
Other lawmakers are also given a podium for a chance to read out loud some of the names of the victims, among them the firebrand parliament member. The moment his name was called — as a cue for him to take the stand — Joint List co-leader MK Ahmad Tibi stormed off the event.
Ben-Gvir in response called Tibi "a supporter of terrorism, who shouldn't be in Knesset".
Hayut, for her part, dedicated her speech to her relatives, and especially her grandmother who perished in the Nazi genocide and whom she was named after.
"These are the names of my relatives who perished in the Holocaust. My grandmother after whom I am named, Esther, and her children Malchala and Monique, my father's brother — were all executed in Poland. Sima and Yerachmiel, my maternal grandparents who perished after being deported to Auschwitz. The parents and grandfather of Yehuda Strolovich, the partner of my late mother, who was a partisan and a survivor. May they rest in peace."
Rivlin, meanwhile, dedicated his speech to his wife Nechama, who passed away two years ago. He said since she passed away in June of 2019, he made it his duty to read out the names of her relatives who perished in the Holocaust during ceremonies.