A sixteen-year-old girl spat on Israeli Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Ahmed Tibi after the politician, who was once an adviser to the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, prompted outrage in a speech to college students Sunday.
The girl is circled in the above photo, which was published Monday by the Israeli website Ynet. Other students singing Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah are heard in the background.
Ynet reports that the trouble began when Tibi participated in a heated debate with right-wing MK Arieh Eldad at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.
In an edited video of the debate posted by Israel National News, Tibi accused the students of killing Palestinian children. Most Israelis attend college only after serving between two and three years in the army. What also angered the audience: Tibi’s refusal to call the 2011 murder of the Fogel family “terrorism.” He said:
I come with clean hands. My hands are bloody with the blood of Jewish children whom I birthed and some of you killed Arab children! Some of you killed Arab children! You should be ashamed! You should be ashamed! […] Some of you are proud that you killed Palestinian children. You should be ashamed! And that is the moral difference between me and you. There is a large moral difference between a person who brings life into the world and a person who calls for death. You can for death, hatred, and killing. I am proud of the life that I brought and I despise the world view that supports the killing of children and targeting of civilians because of the fact that they are Palestinians.
The students were likely also angered by fresh memories of the November hostilities with Gaza, in which Hamas and other terrorists targeted Israeli civilians in southern Israel with more than 1,500 rockets aimed at schools and homes. In a second video posted by Israel National News, here was another exchange with the moderator:
MODERATOR: Are you willing to tell me that there’s a certain act, even for the liberation from occupation, which is amoral, inhuman, and that you denounce and see as an act of terror?
TIBI: So I will take you back to what I said about the terror attack at Itamar when children were killed. From the Knesset podium […] I said that whoever did this thing, when he sees children and shoots and kills them, he thinks he is a hero, he is a coward. And therefore this act is deserving of … [INTERRUPTED] [TO AUDIENCE HE SAYS] Isn’t there a psychiatrist in this room? Stop it. And therefore I reject this act on a moral and political basis.
MODERATOR: Your command of Hebrew is much better than to say ‘I reject.’ Terror or not? Terrorist or not?
TIBI: since I know Hebrew, I chose my own words. And my words are clear. I denounced harm caused to Jewish civilians, or Israelis in general. […] There is a difference between expressing sorrow and denouncing.
MK Aryeh Eldad, who also participated in the debate, told the screaming students:
You want Dr. Tibi to say things that he cannot say, because he supports the Arab terror. What do you want from him. Do you want him to lie? [Applause]
Two Palestinian teenagers from a village near Itamar in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) confessed to murdering the Fogel family in 2011, stabbing to death parents Ruti and Ehud and three of their children – Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and three-month-old Hadas whose throat was slashed while she was in her crib.
The perpetrators were 18 and 19-year-old cousins, now serving five life sentences. They told investigators they carried out their attack on a whim – deciding to do it only two days earlier.
Ynet reports that guards had to escort Tibi off campus due to the ruckus and that several students yelled at Tibi: “You’re a child murderer, go to Gaza, go to Syria. That’s the place for you.”
Several students were whisked out of the hall. There was an unconfirmed report that a student also spilled water on the politician, but that is not seen in any of the videos posted.
Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin said Monday: “I condemn any attack on an elected representative and attempt to disrupt his ability to fulfill his mission. In a conflicted country like this we must firmly defend the right to a proper democratic debate.”
Watch the Ynet video of the spitting and the debate from Israel National News: