Arab MK Evicted From Knesset for Calling Feiglin 'Fascist'

Both Jamal Zahalka (Balad) and Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash) ordered out of the chamber by acting speaker Moshe Feiglin during no-confidence debate.

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MK Jamal Zahalka being restrained in the Knesset.
MK Jamal Zahalka being restrained in the Knesset.Credit: Dudi Vaknin

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) was forcibly removed from the Knesset podium and dragged out of the plenum on Monday evening after he called Moshe Feiglin (Likud), the acting speaker, a fascist.

Prior to Zahalka's eviction, MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash) was removed from the plenum, also at the behest of Feiglin, for allegedly shouting "You should be suffocated" at the acting speaker.

Barakeh was evicted without prior warning, which is required by Knesset regulations.

The session, which was debating a no-confidence motion, came to standstill after Zahalka's removal, with opposition MKs loudly protesting the move.

Feiglin subsequently explained that he had meant for Zahalka to be removed from the podium but not evicted from the plenum. The MK soon returned to the chamber to join in the chaos that had resulted from his eviction.

In his speech, Zahalka attacked the new Jewish nation-state bill which, if passed by the plenum, would define the state of Israel as “the national homeland of the Jewish people” instead of “Jewish and democratic.”

Quoting the Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, Zahalka said that she had criticized the idea of a national homeland for the Jewish people in 1941, arguing that it would turn the Palestinians into second-class citizens.

After Feiglin interrupted the speech with questions about Zahalka's sources and terminology, the MK said: “I suggest you read her. Of course you are in an opposite world from hers She was anti-Nazism, anti-fascism — and you are a fascist.”

Feiglin ordered Zahalka to end his speech immediately and, when Zahalka refused, he called the security guards, three of whom dragged the MK from the podium and out of the chamber.

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