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May 20, 2018 2:16 pm

Israeli Defense Minister, Arab MK in Ferocious War of Words

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: Jonathan Klinger via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israeli-Arab Knesset member Ayman Odeh conducted a ferocious war of words on Sunday following a controversy over the injury of an Arab demonstrator in Haifa.

According to Maariv, Jafar Farah’s leg was broken during an altercation with police at a protest against Israel’s actions on the Gaza border over the past week, in which dozens of Palestinians — many identified as Hamas members– were killed during organized riots.

After Farah was injured, Odeh reportedly accompanied him to the hospital where he began to abuse the police officers present, calling them “zero” and “garbage.” In Hebrew, both insults have stronger connotations than their English equivalents.

In response to the reports, Lieberman tweeted, “Every day that Ayman Odeh and his collaborators walk free and insult police officers is a failure of the enforcement authorities. The place for these terrorists is not in the Knesset but in jail. The time has come for them to pay the price for their actions.”

Odeh responded sarcastically, tweeting back, “Too bad he didn’t tweet that in 48 hours I’ll be in jail — that way I’d know there’s nothing to worry about.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union party sought to calm the tensions, saying that Farah was known for his activism and was not a violent man. “In Israel, the right to demonstrate is protected for everyone and it must not be forgotten that it is a basic right,” Herzog tweeted. “Therefore, there must be a serious investigation to give the people complete answers about the incident.”

Police have begun an investigation into whether the alleged use of force against the demonstrators in Haifa was justified.

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