Knesset members Ahmed Tibi and Talab El-Sana (both United Arab List-Ta'al) were ejected from the Knesset plenum Tuesday after heckling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech during a special session in memory of the Olei Hagardom, the 12 members of the Jewish underground sentenced to hang by the British.
The prime minister said, "I salute those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom, whereupon Tibi called, "They shot at a bus of civilians… they killed a minister. Is killing a minister permitted? Are they heroes or terrorists?"
The two Knesset members were called to order three times by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) to the applause of other Knesset members.
MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) said, "Haniyeh is waiting for you in Gaza," referring to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu) said, "It's impertinence, sheer impertinence." As he left the plenum, Tibi said, "Each nation has its own truth."
Tibi's call referred to Shlomo Ben Yosef, from the Beitar movement, who fired on a bus of Arab civilians in 1938. Nobody was wounded in the attack, and Ben Yosef and two accomplices were arrested. He was tried and sentenced to hang. Six years later Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, both members of the Jewish militia group Lehi, assassinated Lord Moyne in Cairo. They were executed in Cairo in 1945.
'Paid the highest price'
"Today we remember the nine Irgun members and three Lehi members, who were caught and sentenced to hang, who were ready to pay the highest price," Netanyahu said.
"There is discussion surrounding the methods of the Jewish underground groups. Anyone claiming symmetry between the Arab underground, or let's say Arab terror groups (and the Jewish underground) should check what those groups are aiming for – intentional attacks on civilians – while for the Jewish groups such attacks were exceptions. These groups sought military targets."
The prime minister praised the 12, saying "We salute the 12 heroes of the Jewish underground, 12 people who when their moment came to mount the gallows did not despair, but maintained their faith in their mission to liberate the land.
"Friends, members of Knesset, the lives of these 12 were short, but their deeds assured them a place in the annals of the struggle for sovereignty, and their names are inscribed forever in our hearts. Who can forget the almost incredible story of Moshe Barazani and Meir Feinstein?" he added, referring to two who had taken their own lives in prison.
"We will not forget that their sacrifice was not in vain," Netanyahu continued. "We will educate our sons and daughters in the value of life and love of the homeland, at the same time as we remember this dedication… From Olei Hagardom to the present day, the message of sacrifice and heroism remains alive. The Israeli nation bows its head to the memory of the 12 Olei Hagardom."
The 12 Olei Hagardom were: Shlomo Ben Yosef, Dov Gruner, Mordechai Alkachai, Yehiel Drezner, Eliezer Kashani, Moshe Barazani, Meir Feinstein, Jacov Weiz, Avshalom Haviv, Meir Nakar, Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri.