On Monday morning, the chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, Walid Taha (Ra’am), confronted the right-wing MKs who tried to participate in the debate on a bill to allow connecting illegally constructed Arab homes to the national electricity grid, and expelled them one by one. At last count, Taha has expelled MKs Orit Orit Strock (Religious Zionism), Fateen Mulla and Yoav Kish (Likud), and Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit).
Taha removed MK Kish from the debate following his request to consolidate the amendments made to the bill. Kish told the Interior Committee chairman: “You are a brat and a criminal – this is not how legislation is done in Israel.”
Later, MK Mulla was also removed from the debate. Initially, he refused to leave and told Taha: “This is a disgrace. You are shaming the committee, I will not leave.” He was finally removed with the help of Knesset ushers.
Taha’s behavior at the helm was reminiscent of King Solomon’s remark (Proverbs 30:22) about “a slave who becomes a king, a nasty man who prospers.” Clearly, after spending a lifetime under the yoke of Jewish governments, the life-long member of the Islamic Movement was enjoying the bits of authority his party’s privileged position in the coalition government rewarded him. He was showing the Jews what it’s like to be governed by a hostile Arab – and the point came across with unerring accuracy.
MK Orit Strock asked to inquire about the bill and was refused by Taha, who derided her: “You will ask when I give you the right to speak.”
Struck was angered and said, “Why don’t you let an MK ask a question? Why can Osama Saadi (Joint Arab List)) ask a question and I and MK Kish can’t ask? Is it because you’re a racist? Because I’m Jewish and Osama Saadi is an Arab?”
So Chairman Taha kicked her out of the debate.
But Taha was most outrageous in his confrontation with Mk Ben Gvir. The MK said, “You don’t let people talk.” Taha’s response was: “Get him out, Bara (get out in Arabic).” Ben Gvir responded: “You bara, go away to Syria.” Taha insisted: “Get out.” Ben Gvir yelled back: “Ayelet Shaked is to blame for putting you in this place … All I did was comment and you’re kicking me out. Everyone is talking here, and for half a word you kick me out … Go to Syria.”
At which point Taha raised the ante, telling Ben Gvir: “Be careful not to come into the hall with a weapon, you are a dangerous man.”
Ben Gvir didn’t hold back: “You don’t let people talk, so it turns out they are terrorists. Do you also have a terrorist past? You’re the only one who doesn’t let anyone talk, you belong in prison.”
MK Taha may not be an outright terrorist, but he’s gotten pretty close. In 2013, he participated in a delegation that visited the family of the terrorists from the Pitchfork Night attack, in which three IDF soldiers were killed. In 2018, he posted: “My brother, raise the Syrian flag over your house all year round, wave the flag on the memorial day for the conquest of the Golan, to remind yourself that it is occupied Syrian land.” Also in 2018, Taha participated in a rally in support of Hamas marches on the perimeter fence.
In 2019, Taha posted: “Since the Zionist movement launched its brutal, racist project more than a century ago, murder, deportation, demolition, discrimination, racism and barbaric abuse of land rights have been the most prominent behavior of this hate project.” In 2019, he also participated in a march in support of the Israeli Arab riots of October 2000.