Skip To Content
Breaking News

Israeli Lawmakers Call for Balad to Be Expelled From Knesset After Qatar Visit

Israeli lawmakers called for Balad to be expelled from the Knesset after its lawmakers visited Qatar and perhaps the Arab-Israeli party’s founder, Azmi Bishara.

Bishara lives in exile after resigning from the parliament in 2007 and fleeing Israel amid accusations that he provided information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

“Members of Balad, the party founded by Azmi Bishara, who was charged with espionage and fled Israel, again prove unequivocally to those who still doubted it that they do not have a place in the Knesset,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that was posted on Facebook. “While Israel is still in a difficult campaign against Hamas terrorists, Balad lawmakers traveled to Qatar and demonstrated support for Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and his cronies.”

Liberman also called the party a “fifth column representing terrorist organizations in the Knesset.”

The party’s three lawmakers — Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi and Bassel Ghattas — reportedly visited Qatar last week.

The party would not say whether or not the three met with Bishara, but did confirm that the lawmakers paid for their own trips.

Miri Regev of the Likud party, chair of the Knesset Interior Committee, asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein in a letter to investigate the Qatar visit and ban the party from Knesset.

Zoabi and Zahalka were arrested last month at an Arab-Israeli protest in northern Israel against Israel’s operation in Gaza.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.