Arab MK Draws Ire in Knesset for Donning Kaffiyeh

Balad's Basel Ghattas put on the Arab headdress in solidarity with Muslim schoolchildren who took flak for wearing them to school.

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MK Basel Ghattas, speaking at a Knesset committee meeting in February 2014.Credit: Michal Fattal

Israeli MK Basel Ghattas (Balad), drew the ire of some of his Knesset colleagues when he addressed the plenum clad in a kaffiyeh on Wednesday. 

Speaking before the Knesset plenum, Ghattas was pushing Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beiteinu) to resign in the wake of recent incidents in Arab-Israeli towns, the Ynet news site reported.

Ghattas asked the minister about the connection between his comment last week that he wished every terrorist incident would end with the death of the terrorist and the police killing in Kafr Kana, and whether the Aharonovitch had considered resigning, according to Ynet.

"Your question is not worth a reaction, but I will say I have no intention to resign, to your bitter disappointment," responded Aharonovitch.

MK Miri Regev (Likud) ripped into Ghattas, declaring that "Arab Knesset members continue to incite." She said Arab MKs were "Trojan horses in the Knesset." Regev called on the attorney general to put Ghattas on trial for his "wretched provocation, especially in these tense days."

Ghattas reportedly said he was wearing the kaffiyeh in solidarity with two Muslim schoolchildren who recently wore similar headwear to a school in northern Israel. The Muslim students got into a confrontation with Druze students, who demanded they take them off. School officials had to intervene to calm the situation.

Regev asked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to find out whether Knesset rules permit speakers to don a kaffiyeh.