“A person is a murderer even if he committed murder just once in his life, so that’s what we can call the army, which murders occasionally and not every day of its life,” Zoabi said.
A Knesset committee on Monday advanced a bill that would authorize banning from schools those organizations whose activities contradict the goals of the state education system, in addition to those that take legal action abroad against IDF soldiers.
The bill is sponsored by several Members of Knesset (MK) from various political parties.
Israeli-Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, of the Arab Joint List, was removed during the discussion by Committee Chairman Yaacov Margi after she declared, “A person is a murderer even if he committed murder just once in his life, so that’s what we can call the army, which murders occasionally and not every day of its life.”
MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli interrupted her, saying ”we will not let you call IDF soldiers murderers,” while MK Anat Berko added ”you will not call IDF soldiers murderers. You and your terrorist friends.”
Margi instructed ushers to remove Zoabi, stating that “IDF soldiers are not murderers. They operate in an impossible reality.”
Berko was also asked to leave after she refused to stop interrupting the discussion.
Addressing the bill, Moalem-Refaeli said organizations that defame the IDF “seek to undermine the existence of the State of Israel and the foundations of the democratic existence. The IDF is a body which can be criticized, but one cannot slander IDF soldiers all over the world. This is a very significant bill, and a clear message should be relayed from this House: the Knesset supports IDF soldiers and their commanders.”
MK Masud Ganaim, of the Arab Joint List, claimed that “the education system is not a factory for producing Zionists, and it should educate the pupils and prepare them for life. Are freedom of expression and critical thinking not the values of the education system? The IDF is not a sacred cow.”
Most Important Bill Ever Submitted to Knesset
MK Oded Forer called the bill “one of the most important pieces of legislation to ever be submitted to the Knesset, particularly in light of the campaign of lies and incitement being waged against IDF soldiers.”
He said some school principals are “subversive, unfit to be principals and conduct discussions without bringing a balanced and opposing opinion.”
MK Elazar Stern, a former IDF general, said that he has “no doubt that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, because it investigates its errors. No other army would behave this way under similar circumstances.”
The mother of a soldier who took part in the meeting argued that it is inconceivable that “any organization can enter a school and express its opinion unsupervised. It cannot be that people defame our children who serve in the IDF. It is not a matter of right or left, but of loyalty to the State of Israel.”
A mother of two IDF soldiers presented a different take on the issue. “I fear this law and letting the minister determine rules of this kind,” she told the committee.
Zoabi is a notorious provocateur, and this is not the first time that the controversial MK has caused an uproar in the Knesset.
For example, she was on board the Mavi Marmara flotilla during the incident in which nine Turkish nationals were killed after beating IDF soldiers with metal pipes.
After the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists in June 2014, Zoabi said that “[the kidnappers] are not terrorists … they are people who do not see any way to change their reality, and they are compelled to use means like these.”
These instances, among others, led to accusations of treason from members of Knesset.