Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Call to Demote Arab MK as Knesset Speaker
MK Michael Ben-Ari demands that Arab MK Ahmed Tibi be suspended from his position as Deputy Knesset Speaker after he called pre-State Jewish heroes “terrorists.”
Ben-Ari, of the Nationa Union party, has sent an urgent request to MK Yariv Levin ( Likud), chairman of the Knesset House Committee, to hold a session on the matter and vote on Tibi’s suspension.
The incident occurred during the special Knesset session on Tuesday honoring the memories of the 13 Olei HaGardom – lit., those who ascended the Gallows – who were executed by the pre-State British Mandatory regime during the struggle for Israel's independence. The 13 were killed between 1938 and 1947, though two of them, Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barazani, blew themselves up just moments before they were to be hanged. Present at the ceremony were families of the heroes and many other guest, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch.
In the middle of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, Tibi yelled out, “Why are they being honored? These are heroes – or terrorists?"
Tibi: I Achieved My Goal
Interviewed Wednesday morning on Army Radio, Tibi said he arrived at the special Knesset session for only one purpose - to make the above point. When asked by interviewer Razi Barkai why he has not protested the Palestinian Authority's plans to name a central Ramallah square after a terrorist, Tibi became slightly flustered and said, "I didn't know I was coming here to discuss the Palestinian Authority," and did not answer the question.
Ben-Ari noted that Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin reminded Tibi that the accepted rule is that heckling and interruptions are not acceptable during ceremonious sessions, yet Tibi continued screaming just the same, “calling our national heroes ‘terrorists,’ until Rivlin was forced to expel him from the session."
“Given the above,” Ben-Ari wrote, “one who violates the Knesset rules while insulting our national heroes has lost his legitimacy to serve as Deputy Speaker – a position in which he demands of others to abide by the rules that he himself violates! … In addition, the Speaker serves as substitute for the President of Israel, and the Deputy Speaker serves as substitute for the Speaker. Is it conceivable that in some type of hypothetical circumstances, one who so disgraces our national heroes should serve as President and/or Speaker?!”