Israeli politicians on Wednesday had mixed reactions to the arrest of controversial Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah in London. Arab members of Knesset expressed outrage over Tuesday's arrest and called on Britain to release Salah without delay, while right-wing members of Knesset lauded the news.
Israeli Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) and Dr. Hanna Swaid (Hadash) said the arrest was "outright illegal" and urged British officials to release Sheikh Salah. "The British government should know that it is taking part in Israel's political persecution of Arab leaders," MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) said. Zoabi also sent a letter to the British Embassy in Israel protesting Salah's arrest.
Right-wing MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) sent a letter to the British ambassador to Israel asking his government to keep Salah on British soil rather than deport him. Knesset Education Committee Chairman MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beitenu) plans to ask the government to vote on what has been dubbed the "Raed Salah bill," which would ban anyone convicted of aiding terrorist organizations from entering educational institutions, including schools and universities, without express permission from the education minister.
"If the British government refuses entry for this individual because of his extreme views and the fear that he might use public and academic venues to incite violence and racism, there is no reason why Israel should allow him and his kind to enjoy such activities either," MK Miller said.