Israeli Arab Lawmaker Slammed for Suggesting Not All Palestinian Stabbers Are Terrorists

Remarks by former sportscaster Zouheir Bahloul causes a furor, mostly in the Zionist Union party to which he belongs.

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MK Zuheir Bahloul speaks at the Knesset.
MK Zuheir Bahloul speaks at the Knesset.Credit: Knesset spokesperson

Politicians of the opposition Zionist Union party slammed one of their own on Thursday, Arab lawmaker Zouheir Bahloul, for suggesting in an interview on Army Radio that he thought not every Palestinian who stabs an Israeli is a terrorist.

Responding to a rhetorical question, in which he was asked, "so a stabber of innocent people is a philosophical question?" Bahloul responded: "No he's not a terrorist because my problem is with 'terrorist' is that this word has become too over-generalized, every Palestinian has been turned into a terrorist, the way I see it."

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said in response: "I reject and condemn Zuheir Ba'aloul's remarks. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist."

"[I]t makes no difference whether that person has gone out to kill a Jew or a Palestinian," Herzog said.

The party also issued a statement making clear that Ba'aloul's comments did not reflect its views, and demanding the government take more effective action to bring what it called "a wave of terrorism" to an end.

Lawmaker Nachman Shai denounced the remark as "sad and unnecessary."

Erel Margalit, of Zionist Union, demanded Ba'aloul retract his "severe" remarks.

Far-right politicians predictably joined in the criticism. MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) condemned the comment by asserting that it illustrated how "unfortunately the terrorists are also represented politically" in Israel.

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