MK Ayman Odeh (Joint List) clashed Saturday afternoon with police officers who prevented him from visiting patients accused of rioting.
Odeh, who visited the Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa, asked to visit the director general of the nonprofit Mossawa Center, which promotes equality for Arab citizens in Israel, after he was injured and arrested in a protest that turned violent the day before.
Odeh was denied entry to his room by police officers posted to guard him, as they were instructed to let the detainee receive guests in his room. Odeh identified himself as a member of the Knesset, but when that failed to provide him entry, he grew agitated and started shouting at one of the officers' intent on not letting him pass, calling him a "zero."
Realizing the officer will not budge, Odeh, along with his posy, stormed off.
The policeman who suffered the verbal abuse filed a complaint against the MK for insulting a public servant.
On Friday, during a demonstration in Haifa in solidarity with the residents of Gaza and their recent protests at the strip's border with Israel, a riot broke out and the police arrested 21 of the demonstrators, two of them minors who have since been released.
"Police forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation," Odeh accused Friday. "(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's government wants to silence any voice of resistance and dissent coming from here, to silence any voice that embarrasses it and its actions. I am full of appreciation for the protesters tonight and the immense sacrifice of the detainees. No police brutality will succeed in silencing us."
Among the detainees was Jafar Farah, a resident of Haifa who heads Mossawa. During his arrest, Farah's knee was broken.
Odeh then took to social media to express his agitation, asking, "What is he under arrest for? Why is he shackled when he is hospitalized? And why are we being prevented from asking the doctors how is he doing?"
"Soon we will demonstrate in front of the police station against its fascist activities," he continued, though stressed that the "police are only a tool in the hands of the government and its leader who lead a policy of criminal incitement against us (Arabs)."
"We will not turn our backs on our duty to our people. We will not turn back on our struggle against this criminal government," he concluded.
The Israel Police said in response that it views "with great severity any attempt to harm a policeman, insult him and obstruct him in fulfilling his duties."
The police added that the arrests on Friday were carried out after the demonstrators disrupted public order and began destroying public property.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav backed the police on all counts, saying that "the right to demonstrate is not a right to anarchy and to harm public safety."
"I will not allow anyone to bring violence and intolerance into the city of Haifa. This is not the way of Haifa. It is good that the police do not allow illegal demonstrations," he affirmed, calling the demonstration an attempt to provoke confrontations and accused Odeh of exploiting the incident for political profit.