MK Zouheir Bahaloul. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

Demonstrating the strength of Israel’s democracy, MK Bahaloul justified attacks against the Jewish State, in which he serves as a member of parliament. 

Member of Knesset (MK) Zouheir Bahaloul of the Zionist Union party drew sharp criticism over the weekend, including from his own party which is considered left-wing, for saying Thursday that a Palestinian who recently launched a stabbing attack against IDF soldiers in Hebron was “not a terrorist.”

The terrorist in that incident was shot dead.

Speaking to IDF Radio on Thursday, Bahaloul said, “I agree that the stabber is a murderer, but he is not a terrorist. My issue is that this word has become too generalized, turning every Arab into a terrorist. In the eyes of Israelis, anyone who fights for their freedom and independence is a terrorist.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Bahaloul’s remarks “shameful.”

“IDF soldiers defend us from these bloodthirsty terrorists with their lives. I expect every Israeli citizen, and especially Knesset members, to fully support them,” Netanyahu said.

Zionist Union lawmakers were quick to distance themselves from their party member’s remarks, with party leader MK Isaac Herzog saying he “strongly rejects and condemns [Bahaloul’s] comments. The Zionist Union’s stance is that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, and it doesn’t matter if he set out to kill Arabs or Jews.”

Prior to Herzog’s response, Zionist Union members said in a joint statement, “We are in the midst of a terror wave, and the government of Israel should begin to deal with it effectively. The terrorist in Hebron was the same as any other terrorist. The comments made by MK Bahloul do not reflect or represent the stance of the Zionist Union.”

Bahaloul later defended his offensive comments on Saturday when he likened the Palestinian terrorists to Israel’s pre-state freedom fighters who fought against the British Mandate.

“I want to remind you that before 1948 there was a British Mandate here. The Etzel, the Lehi, the Hagana and all the Jewish organizations took to the streets against the Mandate in order to bring about your state. So why are the Palestinians not allowed [to do so]?”

While not condoning terror attacks against civilians, Bahaloul said that IDF soldiers, which are in the front line protecting the parliament in which he serves, are a different story. “But soldiers? They are the symbol of the occupation. What should a Palestinian do after suffering under the occupation for 49 years, after losing his life, after searching for his freedom and independence and not receiving anything?”

Dichter said that he was surprised to hear a fellow Knesset member describe Israel as “your country.” Bahloul again shot back: “This is the Jews’ country and not the Arabs’ country.” In his statement, Bahaloul essentially called for an armed struggle with the implied objective of destroying the Jewish State.

By: and United with Israel Staff