Israeli Arab Knesset Member's Car Goes Up in Flames; Police Investigating Possibility of Arson

Lawmaker Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya woke up to find his car on fire but says he doesn't know who did it or why and that his family is not in dispute with anyone

Bar Peleg
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FILE Photo: Knesset member Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya of the Joint List, July 2018.
FILE Photo: Knesset member Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya of the Joint List, July 2018. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Bar Peleg

A car belonging to Knesset member Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Joint List) caught on fire late Monday night outside his house in the city of Taibeh.

A preliminary police investigation indicates that this was a case of arson, but no suspect has been arrested yet. The police say no threats had been made against the Knesset member. Security camera footage from the street Yahya lives on was collected and the the incident is being investigated.

Yahya called the police after waking up to find his car on fire around 2 AM. Yahya previously served as the mayor of Taibeh. He told Haaretz that he and his family are not in disagreements with anyone and has given his testimony to the police.

“No one knows yet if this was a criminal act or why this happened,” Yahya said. He added that the possibility of a politically-motivated crime has been ruled out. “The police told me they have no leads. I checked with my sons, my brothers and other family members. We’re not in conflict with anyone and we don’t have that kind of background. I don’t know who did this or why they did it. The whole city and anyone who knows me is surprised by what happened.”

The Knesset spokesman said that the torching of MK Yahya’s car is being investigated by the Taibeh police who received the complaint. There have been no threats directed at Yahya, but in light of the incident, security around him has been increased. The spokesman would not elaborate the security measures being taken but added that Yahya would not have a personal bodyguard.