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November 3, 2016 10:23 am

Joint Arab List MKs Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech on First Day of Knesset Winter Session

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Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Members of the Knesset’s Joint Arab List party protested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on the first day of the plenum’s winter session by leaving the premises as he took the podium.

The protest was purportedly a response to the government’s announcement that it would boycott speeches by the 13 Joint List MKs, after they refused to attend the funeral of former President Shimon Peres at the end of September.

Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) had said earlier that the “symbolic” boycott would last one week.

In a statement, the Joint Arab List called this an “unprecedented” move by the government, claiming it was the first time in the Knesset’s history that a faction representing nearly 20 percent of Israel’s citizens would be boycotted by the coalition.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, said his party would continue the boycott for the duration of the session, calling the Joint List a “representation of terrorist organizations in the Knesset.”

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