Photo: Hassan Shaalan
Zahalka and Zoabi
Photo: Hassan Shaalan
Yaron London
Hatred for hatred's sake
Opinion: Minister Uriel Ariel, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and MK Avigdor Lieberman could not contain their joy at news that Arab Mks Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka will likely not serve in the parliament following the elections. But what is the point of expressing these views so publicly if the targets of their abuse don't even see it?
It appears Arab MK Hanin Zoabi will not serve in the next Knesset. The members of her Balad party's central commitee are fed up with her. Balad leader Jamal Zahalka will likely also not return to the parliament following the elections, because his party's constitution sets a very high bar for those who wish to be elected for the fifth time, and he has decided to give up. The leadership in Balad can be replaced in a democratic manner, something that cannot be said for several other political parties in Israel.



When news emerged that Zoabi would not return to the Israeli legislature, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home publically rejoiced, tweeting: "Take your friends, and go straight to Ramallah." And when it transpired that Zahalka would not fight to remain at the helm of his party, MK Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beytenu tweeted: "I hope this lovely pair not only retires from the Knesset, but also from the State of Israel, and move to its rightful place—Gaza and Damascus."


It's doubtful the MKs from Balad saw these tweets, and so one must wonder why the Jewish politicians even bothered to write texts that offer nothing more than an expression of loathing to their Arab colleagues.


Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoabi  (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoabi (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The reason, I believe, is similar to the motives of a suitor who charters a plane to fly over the city dragging behind it a sign that says "Ruth, marry me!" The loud young man could've simply knelt down in front of his beloved and asked for her hand in marriage, serenaded her under the window of her apartment, or written her a poem. But this would not have achieved his goal, which is not winning the girl's heart, but rather making a spectacle for the world to see the greatness of his love, to be impressed by the strength of his feelings and to cheer on his virtue.


The grandiose gesture by the suitor requires a lot more effort than writing nasty comments on Twitter, but there are great similarities between the motivations of the two. The mean-spirited tweets are not meant to offend their subject, they are written for the general public to see. After all, if the tweet writer had truly wanted to shock his target, he would've been better off launching a barrage of abuse in text messages, which are not limited in the number of characters, or by accosting their target as they passed one another in the Knesset's hallways. Both Ariel and Lieberman, like their supporters, don't keep their emotions bottled up. They say whatever's on their minds. They're authentic folks.


And to my great disappointment, so does Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein—a well-mannered and restrained man. "I waged battles with no consideration for the coalition, the opposition, the religious, the secular, the Jews or the Arabs," he said in some interviews, describing his efforts to ensure manners are maintained in the institution he runs. "All for the sake of the Knesset's image, for decency in the Knesset, to serve an example."


Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Photo: TPS)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Photo: TPS)


His loyalty to these values expired when it came to Balad. When he heard about the two MKs' retirement from the Knesset, he thanked the Lord for His grace. "Thank G-d, no more Balad! The party contributes nothing to the Knesset. On the contrary, it hurts the entire Israeli public." Edelstein has the right to think so, but expressing this opinion is inappropriate within the context of his position.


An estimated 100,000 Balad supporters voted for the Joint List faction—which is made up of Balad, Hadash, Islamic Movement, and UAL-Ta’al—including 1,000 Israeli Jews. They, at least, don't think this party hurts "the entire Israeli public."


I wonder if the kippah-wearing Knesset Speaker will publicly recite Birkat HaGomel (the blessing of thanksgiving) if several punks and upstarts from his own party—the public knows who—are tossed from Likud's Knesset list in the upcoming elections. But perhaps God only listens to thanksgiving over the departure of Arab MKs.


פרסום ראשון: 01.05.19, 16:04
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