Is There a mini-Uzi in the House?

Former Knesset member Ayoob Kara, of Likud, means to sue the Knesset at the High Court of Justice.

His beef is that a public panel in charge of deciding when Knesset members get their legal costs covered, rejected his request for NIS 63,000 to cover his legal costs incurred after he was charged with forgetting a submachine gun in a hotel lounge. The panel is headed by former justice Dalia Dorner.

On November 29, 2004, went the charges, Kara - then an active parliamentarian - left a mini-Uzi submachine pistol in the lobby of the Crown Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem. He also left behind a magazine with some bullets in it, without, said the prosecution, taking the proper precautions (for forgetting the gun, or not forgetting it - forget it.)

Anyway, Kara motioned the court to postpone the legal process because the charges against him was filed in delay, for personal reasons, and because of flaws in the process of the investigation.

He explained to the public committee that following the directives of the Shin Bet Security service and threats to his life, he was accompanied by bodyguards. In isolated cases, when his guards were not with him, he bore the weapon in his case for self-protection. Kara pointed out that he is licensed to bear the weapon.

That day he was at the hotel's VIP reception room talking with Knesset member Benny Eilon (National Unity) and Wasil Taha of Balad, when he felt a fierce pain in his chest, he relates. After taking medicine, he calmed down, lay on his bed and fell asleep. Sadly, his briefcase and submachine pistol remained in the VIP lounge. A security guard evidently took the case and left it at the general reception desk in the lobby, where the receptionist noticed it and called the police.

Sources in the Knesset say that Kara was not defined as requiring security and that the Knesset Officer had not directed him to bear personal arms.

Be that as it may, Kara feels that his expenses in the case should be recognized and borne by the public, since he committed the offense - neglecting to secure a deadly weapon - while not only serving in the House, but while holding a political meeting with other Knesset members.

But the committee, which determines whether the public should pay a MK's legal costs, felt otherwise. The costs did not arise from his public activity, but from his personal conduct, it ruled.

Kara commented that he had lived under threat for a long period of time.. I am being persecuted and am now preparing an appeal to the High Court of Justice. I will pursue this to the bitter end."