Young Woman Spits at Israeli Arab MK During Election Panel

Bar-Ilan University, who hosted the panel, apologized and condemned the act. MK Ahmed Tibi: 'I will speak my mind and the mind of the Arab public with pride.'

Talila Nesher
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Talila Nesher

A young woman spat at Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) on Sunday, just after he spoke on an election panel at Bar-Ilan University.

The 17-year-old is not enrolled in the institution, Bar Ilan University said following the incident.

In addition to Tibi, MK Aryeh Eldad of the right-winged party Otzma Leyisrael was also featured on the panel Sunday morning.

Members of the audience described the atmosphere as relatively calm until the end. One audience member said that "the crowd interrupted almost every question," while another said: "There were heckles, but it was quiet most of the time, except for one incident, when some students argued and were removed from the hall."

When the panel was over and Tibi was about to come down from the stage, witnesses said, a religious 17-year-old woman approached him and spat in his direction. A witness said that "she was unable to reach him and university security grabbed and held her until a policeman arrived."

After the incident Tibi vowed not to be intimidated, saying he would continue to speak anywhere necessary. "I will speak my mind and the mind of the Arab public with pride."

The university said: "We strongly condemn this behavior and apologize to MK Tibi." The university also clarified that the young woman was not a student, adding that she had apparently come to the event with the intent of committing the act.

Last week, a verbal and physical scuffle erupted after Israel's High Court of Justice heard a petition against a decision to ban Israeli Arab lawmaker Hanin Zuabi from running in the January 22 Knesset elections. The High Court on Sunday rejected bids for her disqualification.

After the hearing, more than two dozen extreme-right activists tried to physically block Zuabi from leaving, pushing her entourage and yelling insults, including "You disgusting terrorist, go to Syria," "We’ll send you to Gadhafi,” and "Go to Gaza."

Ultra-right lawmaker Michael Ben Ari (Otzma Leyisrael) charged that if Zuabi, who participated in a 2010 flotilla that had sought to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, were not disqualified today, "tomorrow she'd throw a bomb in the Knesset." He added that if the panel of nine judges allowed her to run, "I would send them all to Gaza. They can be outstanding judges under (Hamas leader Ismail) Haniyeh," he told reporters.

Member of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al).Credit: Emil Salman

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