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Arab MPs in Israeli Knesset Receive Death Threats

Arab MPs in Israeli Knesset Receive Death Threats

Monday, 2 December, 2019 - 13:45
Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List, gestures as he hands out pamphlets during an election campaign event in Tira, September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Following threats against his life, Arab member of the Knesset Dr. Ahmad Tibi unveiled dozens of death threats he and a number of his colleagues have received because of their political activity. The members of the parliamentary “Joint List” blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for these threats and considered them “a natural product of the racist incitement he is leading against us.”

MP Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, said that the attack on Tibi and death threats against him and many other Arab deputies indicated a serious deterioration in Israeli society and confirmed the return of the atmosphere that preceded the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Tibi was invited to participate in a political seminar with many Jewish figures in the city of Ramat Hasharon, at the initiative of the municipality and a foundation dedicated to helping families bereaved from war.

As soon as the symposium was announced, activists of the far-right demanded the cancellation of Tibi’s participation under the pretext that he “defends terrorism.”

The municipality succumbed to pressure and moved the seminar to another place in the city, but rejected the request to cancel Tibi's participation.

On Saturday, dozens of far-right activists came to the symposium waving Israeli flags, and when Tibi arrived, they tried to forcibly prevent him from entering the hall shouting: “Tibi is a murderer and a terrorist.”

Two of them beat Tibi on his head, with the flagsticks they carried, and another protester sprayed sand on his face. A number of Jewish citizens confronted extremists and surrounded Tibi with a human barrier until he entered the hall. Israeli police arrested two protesters for assaulting the deputy and later released them.

“This attack and these racist chants by extremists… are a direct result of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement against me and the Arab deputies,” Tibi said.

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