Prominent opposition Hadash lawmaker and head of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, was questioned by police Tuesday over an altercation last year with a far-right lawmaker in a Rehovot hospital. The Israel Police said it had summoned Odeh as it investigates his October 19 clash with Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who pressed assault charges against Odeh.
Screen capture from video of an altercation between racist MK Itamar Ben Gvir and MK Ayman Odeh, leader of Joint List, at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, October 19, 2021. (Al-Ittihad)
Police said they had received a complaint at the time of “assault of an elected official at the Kaplan Medical Center by another elected official.” After receiving authorization, “today the MK was summoned for questioning and then released,” police said. “The outcome of the investigation will be forwarded for review and decisions by the professional bodies.”
Odeh went to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot to see Miqdad Qawasmeh, a Palestinian prisoner being held without charge who had been on a hunger strike for nearly three months. Odeh was said to be visiting the “administrative prisoner” to offer his support while Ben Gvir was said to have come at the same time to complain that Qawasmeh was being treated in an Israeli hospital. Odeh and other Joint List MKs oppose administrative detention, and have frequently protested its use against Palestinians.
Video of the confrontation showed Odeh exiting Qawasmeh’s ward and encountering Ben Gvir, who was demanding to be let in. Odeh told Ben Gvir that he would not be permitted to enter the room. During an ensuing scuffle, Odeh shoved Ben Gvir, who then lunged toward him, but staff stepped in to separate the pair.