Photo: Gil Yohanan
Tibi: Knesset is racist
Photo: Gil Yohanan

MKs cry racism 'on Obama election day'

Knesset rejects two bills on Arab municipality mergers immediately after approving similar Druze bill, sparking cries of racism. Kadima: MKs conducting their personal primary campaigns at public's expense

The Knesset was riddled with cries of racism on Wednesday when, just moments after it had approved a bill cancelling the merging of two Druze municipalities, two similar bills regarding Arab municipalities were rejected. A number of MKs remarked that the voting was influenced by racism towards the Arab sector.


After approving the disbandment of the Daliyat El-Carmel and Usfiya municipality merger, the Knesset rejected the disbandment of the Baqa al Gharbiya-Jatt merger as well as that of the merge between Majd al-Krum, Dir al-Asad, and Ba'ana.


The two bills that were rejected had a majority of 49 MKs supporting them, but they required the approval of at least 50 MKs. The first proposal had a majority of 55.


"On the day of the election of (Barack) Obama to the US presidency the Knesset has revealed its ugliness and hatred of Arabs and Muslims," said MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al). "The Knesset is racist," he declared.


MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) said, "What happened in the Knesset is unfortunate. We are speaking of totally identical situations, of residents who were merged against their will."


Khenin added, "The Knesset has sent a very problematic message to the Arab citizens. I regret it and call on the Knesset to fix this distortion of justice before the pre-election recess." MK Ophir Pines-Paz, chairman of the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, called the move "a racist ambush".


The Meretz Party was also enraged. MKs Zehava Gal-On and Chaim Oron accused Kadima of undermining the bills out of concern for the primary elections, and compared the Kadima MKs' conduct with that of MKs from the extreme right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party.


Kadima rejected the allegations, and stated that "a number of MKs have decided to conduct their personal primary campaigns at the State's expense, and that of the public."


MK Uri Ariel (National Union-NRP) said, "We have a true partnership with the Druze public, and the State is obligated to help them. In contrast, the Arab public wants to pull out of Israel, and undermines it and its Jewish character."


Zvi Lavi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.05.08, 16:21
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