Senior Israeli-Arab Lawmaker Trolls Netanyahu, Cracks Up Knesset

Poking fun at PM's promises to lawmakers as he attempts to form a coalition at the last minute, Ayman Odeh jokes that he was offered 'full withdrawal from the occupied territories' and 'equal rights to Arabs'

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Hadash Chairman Ayman Odeh in the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 29, 2019.
Hadash Chairman Ayman Odeh in the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 29, 2019. Credit: Emil Salman

Hadash Chairman Ayman Odeh brought laughter to a tense evening in the Knesset on Wednesday evening as he poked fun of last-minute promises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made as he scrambled to form a coalition.

"I have a dramatic announcement and I apologize to my fellow MKs that I didn't let you know ahead of time," the Arab lawmaker told the Knesset as they waited for a vote on dissolving the Knesset, which would send Israel to a new election.

"Seven minutes ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to me and he said he is willing to withdraw from the occupied territories and also to cancel the nation-state law, and that he supports not only civil equality but also national equality, and that he's willing to recognize the Nakba and fix the historical wrong – in return for the immunity law," he continued to audible laughter, referencing the prime minister's efforts to pass legislation that would prevent him from being indicted for corruption.

"And I had no time to consult with you! And I'm looking at the clock and wondering when I have to get back to him."

By Tormenting Bibi, Lieberman Could Save Israeli Democracy

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Earlier, it emerged Netanyahu had offered the defense portfolio to Labor Chairman Avi Gabbay in order to tempt him into entering a coalition amid frantic efforts to reach the one additional seat required for a majority in the Knesset.