Photo Credit: MK Sami Abu Shehadeh's Facebook page
MK Sami Abu Shehadeh

The head of the Arab Israeli ‘Balad’ party says he wants to see the elimination of the Israeli flag, the national anthem, the Law of Return and Jewish statehood in general.

MK Sami Abu Shehadeh told Israel’s KAN News public broadcasting radio station on Sunday, “We need a serious change in the racist structure that discriminates in favor of Jews, and to build a better democratic model.”


When asked whether he believes Saturday night’s terrorist shooting attack near the Jewish community of Ofra was “legitimate,” Abu Shehadeh squirmed and finally ducked the question, ultimately declining to condemn the attack.

“I think the occupation has a lot of victims and the way to end all this violence is to end the occupation,” Abu Shehadeh said in the interview.

“I think there should be a clear political project that leads to the end of the occupation and the end of Jewish supremacy and the end of racism. This is a democratic project,” he said.

In response, Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman pointed out in a statement via Twitter that “despite his, and his party’s express support for terrorism and the fight against Israel, Supreme Court justices (and among them, Meni ‘I-didn’t-speak-about-a-specific-minister’ Mazuz) authorized him, again and again, to enter the Knesset.

“Contrary to the explicit Basic Law [that prohibits it]. So why would he condemn a shooting [attack] on a bus?” Rothman wrote.

In an interview with Israel’s Reshet Bet, Rothman also noted that Section 7-A of the Knesset’s Basic Law “means that he cannot be a member of Knesset.

“Whoever says he does not support the flag and the Law of Return and calls the Jewish state enterprise ‘racist’ does not want a Jewish State. Such an individual should not be imprisoned for it, but he cannot be a member of the Knesset.”

It should be noted that the stated purpose of Abu Shehadeh’s party, Balad, is the “struggle to transform the State of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity.”

The Balad party explicitly opposes Israel’s status as a Jewish State and supports the creation of a new “binational” state.

However, the party also supports the creation of two states based on the 1949 Armistice Lines, with the entire regions of Judea, Samaria, Gaza and half of Jerusalem being handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

In addition, Balad supports the so-called “right of return” for all Arabs who abandoned their homes – or were forced out during Israel’s defense War of Independence – as well as their descendants.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.