WATCH Hanin Zoabi: Israel has no right to live in security

A Channel 2 interview with Arab MK Hanin Zoabi is making waves – and it might cost her, again

Hanin Zoabi, the Arab MK of the Balad party, can’t seem to get out of the news. Obviously, this is what she’s aiming for. Every politician loves to see their name in the media.

Just today, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he found “nothing wrong with the Knesset’s decision to revoke some of MK Hanin Zoabi’s privileges” due to her participation in the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza.

She also managed to anger Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who watched her interview on Channel 2 News on Saturday:

Speaking during a meeting of the Yisrael Beiteinu faction and quoted by Channel 10 News, Lieberman responded to Zoabi’s comments and said, “I have not seen so much hatred for the Jewish people and for the people of Israel in a long time.”

“I have never seen such zoological hatred towards the country in which she grew up,” added the Foreign Minister. “She doesn’t have even one good word to say. It’s intolerable.”

And if that’s not enough, a student from Sderot has filed a complaint against her, claiming her words were incitement.

Here’s the interview (my translation):


Danny Kushmaro, the Saturday news anchor, is a decent enough guy. But some of his questions are very indicative of the old discourse. It could be he was playing the devil’s advocate, I’m not sure.

As for Zoabi, I have to give her credit for having the guts to tell it like it is without fear. But there were some instances where she hurt me, too.

One example, was her reaction to Kushmaro saying there is Jewish heritage in Hebron. Now, I don’t care who’s buried in that tomb – I could care less about 4,000 year old bones. But both Zoabi and I know there are a lot of Jews who DO care, and just brushing it off like that is insulting to them. In fact, I’m not sure if she was just brushing it off, maybe saying that there isn’t any Jewish heritage there at all, or maybe she was just trying to belittle it. Either way, it doesn’t come off well.

Another example was what all the papers caught on to. That “Israel has no right to live in security while it is an occupier”. Now, most of you know my opinions on the occupation – but here, Zoabi hurt me as well. Her choice of words – and indeed one would expect on such a sensitive issue to chose carefully – could have been better. Or different.

Because she’s stereotyping. She’s doing exactly what she preaches against. She’s saying that all Israelis must live in fear and danger for their lives. And in a way, it could be interpreted as a call for violence. I’m sorry, but I don’t see why my children should live without security. Just as I don’t see why children in Nabi Saleh should live without security.

Of course, the problem is – the children in Nabi Saleh have no security right now. My children, while they don’t have 100% protection from everything the Mideast has to offer, certainly have more than their Palestinian friends (inshallah, one day they’ll be friends).

But this isn’t a game of Even Stephen.

While on many points Zoabi is correct, I find it hard to see her as someone who will be able to bridge gaps.

And maybe she doesn’t want to. Let’s face it, where has the bridge-gapping got the Palestinians so far? Nothing. Just like the suicide bombers got them nothing. Nothing but 45 years of occupation.

Which is where Kushmaro got it right: Both the Israelis and Palestinians, despite living in a relatively less violent era since Cast Lead, are becoming more exclusive, more nationalistic.

Can’t say I’m surprised. That’s what happens with a blatant lack of leadership, both here in the Mideast, and across the pond.