In a democratic society like Israel, all citizens – Arabs, Jews, and others – are protected by the laws and have responsibilities as well. A primary responsibility is loyalty to their state. Arab-Israeli leaders obviously understand the “contract” that exists between the state and its citizenry better than the average citizen. Yet, time and again, the Arab-Israeli leadership has shown contempt for the State of Israel in undermining the Jewish State and its symbols. The latest example of this behavior resides with the Arab-Israeli Supreme Court Justice.
Honorable Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, Salim Jubran, refused to sing the Israeli national anthem at the swearing in of the new Chief Justice, Honorable Asher Grunis, on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Knesset members from the Right-of-Center parties were furious at this gesture of disloyalty and disrespect. Knesset member (MK) David Totem (Yisrael Beiteinu), who chairs the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and, is also a member of the Judge Selection Committee, announced that he plans to approach Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman on Wednesday and demand that he fire Justice Jubran. An angry MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) charged that for a person of such stature as Justice Jubran to exhibit such disrespect for the State diminishes the stature of the Supreme Court.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) also condemned Jubran’s action and announced that on Wednesday he will submit a bill known as the Jubran Bill, which will stipulate that a person who did not serve his country, either in the IDF or through national or civil service, will not be permitted to serve as a judge in the Supreme Court and, if already appointed, will not be allowed to serve as its president or vice president. “Every Israeli citizen is committed to the anthem, and certainly those who hold senior state positions,” said Ben-Ari. “The fact that Jubran did not hesitate to degrade the state ceremony of the changing of the presidents is like spitting in the face of Israel. There are citizens who demand rights and government positions, but who scorn their national obligations with insolence and arrogance. This situation endangers the existence of the state and must be eradicated.” Ben-Ari added, “Whoever does not like the national anthem should find a country with a suitable anthem and go there. I, for one, promise not to beg that person to remain here.”
Arab and Leftist MK’s responded immediately. MK Ahmed Tibi, a Deputy Knesset Speaker and leader of the Ra’am-Ta’al (Arab list) called MK’s Ben Ari and Rotem “fascist” for demanding that Jubran sing the national anthem. Tibi stated that Jubran’s not having sung the national anthem is like earning a “badge of honor.’ He added, “A Jew that demands from an Arab to sing HaTikvah (The Hope – Israel’s national anthem) is crazy.”
In 1993, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat appointed Tibi (who was born in Taibe, Israel and received his trained as a medical doctor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem), special advisor for the peace process and Israeli matters. Tibi represented the PLO in dealing with Israel, and when Arafat entered Gaza, Tibi insisted that the rest of the PLO leadership be let into Gaza as well.
Arab MKs have, since the mid-1980’s exhibited hostile and provocative speech however, with the entry into Israeli politics of Ahmed Tibi and another contentious member, Dr. Azmi Bishara a new level of temerity was achieved. Speeches by Israeli ministers were more routinely interrupted by the Arab MKs, who made a habit of shouting “murderer” and other epithets at them.
In 2002, the Knesset passed a law making it illegal for Knesset members to visit enemy countries without special permission from the government. In spite of the law Tibi and other Arab Knesset members have made a habit of routinely visiting enemy Arab countries. Another vocal Arab MK, Dr. Azmi Bishara, fled Israel in 2007, following questioning by the Israeli police on suspicion of his having given information to Hezbollah regarding preferred sites for missile attacks during the Second Lebanon War. Tibi has, however, been careful not to be caught in such flagrantly seditious actions. However, in 2005, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz instructed the police to launch a criminal investigation following a trip Tibi took to Lebanon – without a permit – in May of 2004.
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