A Christian Arab representative accused Arab MKs of racism and MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) was thrown out of a heated Knesset Labor, Health and Welfare Committee meeting Wednesday on a bill giving Christians separate representation in the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity in Employment Commission.
“Arab rights don’t interest [coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu), who proposed the legislation],” MK Jamal Zahalke (Balad) said. “There isn’t an employment problem for Christians or Druse. It’s for the general Arab public. Levin wants to wickedly divide the Arab public, which is oppressed anyway.”
“We won’t be his indentured servants,” Zahalke declared.
Zoabi said that the positive side of Levin’s proposal is that it “sharpens the identity issue for Arabs and the hostility of state institutions and MKs toward them.”
Christian IDF Officers Forum leader Shadi Halul said he is proud to be Christian and that he wants and deserves to be recognized as such.
“Don’t listen to these racists,” he added, pointing at the Arab MKs.
“You speak for yourself,” Zahalke shouted. “You are an enemy of Christians!”
MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) stood up for the Arab MKs, calling Halul rude.
Labor, Health and Welfare Committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud Beytenu) removed Zoabi from the meeting for implying Halul deserves to face violence, after she said to him: “You are a coward! Go to the streets of Nazareth and Kfar Kana, say what you just said, and they’ll give you the response you deserve.”
The legislation in question would expand the advisory committee by giving the 160,000 Christians in Israel their own representative and adding another Druse member. The panel will also have haredim, new immigrants, reservists, older people and women.
Levin hopes to establish separate Christian representation in other government institutions, as well.
“The purpose of the bill is to make the committee more varied, so that different populations will be represented and taken care of by this important body,” the Likud Beytenu MK said.
Equal Opportunity in Employment Commissioner Tziona Kenig-Yair said she opposes the legislation, because she doesn’t think the Arab population needs to be divided up in the committee.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Knesset-meeting-on-establishing-special-Christian-Arab-representation-turns-ugly-340439