Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, who heads the Joint List, spoke on Saturday night, October 5, with Israeli television’s Meet the Press program, and among other subjects talked about the protests by Arabs throughout Israel against gangland violence in their communities.
Odeh categorically rejected the contention of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) that Arab MKs prevented the Israeli police from dealing with the rampant crime in Arab community. Odeh claimed, “That’s an outright lie. The police did not do anything [to stem the violent crime] because they’re racist.” Odeh detail four main issues which the government needs to deal in Arab society: criminal groups, illegal weapons, protection money, and the gray market. “These need to be eliminated,” he said.
When asked whether he would support a government led by Kahol-Lavan (Blue & White) Chairman MK Benny Gantz, Odeh replied, “If he has the courage that former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had in the 90s, then we will follow that path.” However, Odeh added his opinion that “Gantz is not ready. Not politically and not ideologically.” Odeh predicted that, if there will be another round of elections in the coming months, the number of Arabs who vote will rise to 70%, and the Joint List will win 15 seats in the Knesset.
Odeh also claimed that racist Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich is a “dazed messianic,” and urged Israel to “do everything in order to prevent him from continuing to serve in his position.” Smotrich attacked Arab lawmakers on Friday for participating in demonstrations against police inaction on spiraling violence in Arab society, saying that they, and the rest of the country’s Arab citizens, are “guests” in Israel. The racist Smotrich tweeted sarcastically: “We are lucky that the Arabs boycotted the opening ceremony of the 22nd Knesset. They would have shot [weapons] into the air to express happiness/sadness/their protest, because that’s their habit, and then, of course, blame the police,” he tweeted.
In response, Joint List MKs exchanged blows via tweeter; Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman wrote: “I still remember the first briefing in the Knesset in 2015 and how, when time was given to the new MKs to ask questions, the very new MK Smotrich asked: ‘Is it okay to enter the parliament building with weapons and, if not, where he might deposit his own.’ That same racist Smotrich has a weapon despite being a danger to society.”