“Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;That thrum on the psaltery, that devise for themselves instruments of music, like David;That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments; but they are not grieved for the hurt of Joseph.” (Amos 6:3-6)
MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) has been singled out many times for her inciteful words against the State of Israel, of whose government she herself is a part, but this time she has gone too far. After multiple calls for action against the Arab MK who has spoken out in support of the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, police have recommended a criminal investigation be opened.
Last Tuesday, Zoabi told Tel Aviv radio that in her view, the kidnappers “are not terrorists; they are people who do not see any way of changing their situation and they have to resort to these measures until Israel sobers up a bit, until the citizens of Israel and the public sober up and relate to the suffering of others.”
Her comments shocked interviewer Sharon Gal, who responded incredulously, “An Israeli MK, with these words, explicitly justifies the kidnapping of Israeli children.” Zoabi then said, “Either I will continue to be interviewed, or I will not,” and abruptly hung up the phone.
On Saturday, Zoabi reiterated her position, saying, “I don’t agree with the abduction, but I don’t think the abductors are terrorists because I’m looking at the macro, at the context of the occupation.” She questioned whether the three boys were even kidnapped, and claimed Israel was using their abduction as an excuse to kill Palestinians.
“Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, but the two Palestinian kids who were killed [on Friday] were not even mentioned [in your broadcast]? The blood of Jews is more precious than the blood of Palestinians?” she said, herself ignoring the context of the incident in question, where IDF soldiers felt their lives were endangered by the actions of the crowd of which the two youths were a part.
Outrage ensued. “Not only are the kidnappers terrorists, but so is Hanin Zoabi,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman stated on his Facebook page. “The sentence of the kidnappers and that of Zoabi, who is inciting and encouraging abductions, must be the same.”
Several other MKs called for Zoabi’s removal from Knesset, but speaker Yuli Edelstein said via Facebook, “You must all understand that as Knesset Speaker, I do not have the tools for dismissing a Knesset Member over his words or actions, severe as they may be.” Still, he was among those pushing to have her removed from Knesset for incitement.
Finally, police have agreed there is enough evidence to justify investigating the Arab MK for criminal incitement. According to the Hebrew news website Ynet, after completing their initial probe investigators are recommending to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that he conduct an official probe. Weinstein is expected to accept the recommendation.