Red line crossed: Protester throws hot tea at MK Tibi
Man arrested after assaulting Ra'am-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi at anti-Prawer plan rally • Tibi: This is the result of the Right's incitement against Arab MKs • Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein: No one can decide to take the law into their own hands.
Gadi Golan, Gideon Allon and Mati Tuchfeld
The protester throwing tea at MK Ahmad Tibi
Photo credit: Dudu Grunshpan
The Beersheba Police on Thursday arrested a 48-year-old resident of the city after he threw hot tea at the face of MK Ahmad Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) during a Bedouin demonstration protesting the Prawer plan for Bedouin resettlement in the Negev Desert.
The man tried to flee the scene but was apprehended by police at the rally.
The police said the man admitted his actions. He was to be arraigned before the Beersheba Magistrates' Court on noon, Friday and charges with assaulting a public official.
The incident took place during a quiet protest rally against the Prawer plan Thursday afternoon in Beersheba. Similar protest rallies had been held throughout the week, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision [LINK 'decision': http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=14011] to shelve the controversial plan pending further review.
During the rally, a man walked up to Tibi, threw the hot tea in his face and fled.
Tibi was lightly injuried but quickly recovered. He called the incident "a brutal and violent act against a public official who participated in a legal protest rally."
He later released a statement saying, "This is what happens when the political Right incites against Arab MKs. Some groups incite and others execute. The attack against me was the result of the increasing racism and incitement against Arab MKs, particularly regarding the Prawer plan. This will not stop me from expressing my opinions and my protest. If anything, they will be louder now."
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) spoke with Tibi following the event.
"I'm concerned that controversial plans that are discussed by the Knesset may promote tensions that eventually find their ways to the street and may even result in violence," Edelstein said.
"The right to protest is reserved to any sector, over any opinion, but no one can decide to cross the line and take the law into their own hands."
Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) said, "The assault on MK Tibi should sound the alarm as far as the [public's] attitude towards public officials is concerned. The public discourse in Israel is becoming increasingly violent, and one day a madman will cross the line and commit an unspeakable crime. Today it was hot tea; tomorrow it will be a knife or a gun."