Arab Knesset Members Given Cold Shoulder

Coalition, opposition lawmakers fulfill bipartisan promise to punish Arab colleagues for dishonoring Shimon Peres

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The start of the Knesset’s winter session was all the more chilly for members of the Joint Arab List as fellow lawmakers from both the ruling coalition and the opposition fulfilled their vow to boycott their Arab colleagues.

The move is in response to the Joint Arab List’s very public decision to boycott the funeral of former President Shimon Peres, whom the party insisted is still viewed negatively by the Arab population despite his decades of efforts for peace.

The counter-boycott, a rare bi-partisan initiative, was put into practice on Monday, as a member of the Joint Arab List took the podium to pray for victims of the Kfar Qasim massacre that occurred during the Sinai War in 1956.

As promised nearly every coalition and opposition MK stood up and left the plenum. Interestingly, one of the few to remain was right-wing “extremist” MK Yehuda Glick, who said he would never boycott anyone, regardless of their position.

Also remaining as necessitated by protocol was Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who attempted to shout down the praying Arab Muslim lawmaker, noting that the Knesset chamber “isn’t a place for protests or demonstrations. This isn’t a mosque.”

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