Arab-Israeli lawmaker summoned by police over Temple Mount outburst

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli lawmaker who verbally accosted Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount has been summoned for questioning by police.

Jamal Zahalka, a Knesset member from the Arab Joint List, must appear before the police for questioning on Sunday, according to reports.

On Tuesday, in an exchange captured on video, Zahalka shouted at the visitors, “Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims.” Kahanist refers to followers of the Jewish ultranationalist leader Meir Kahane.

Zahalka also shouted: “This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted.”

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The altercation came on the second day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and following two days of clashes between Israel Police and security forces and Muslim protesters on the site.

Jewish lawmakers called for Zahalka’s arrest and for him to be put on trial for his actions.

The leader of the Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh, in a statement supported Zahalka and his actions.

“The Al-Aqsa mosque belongs to the Muslims, and the only way to defend it is to continue our struggle for the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines whose capital is East Jerusalem,” Odeh said in the statement, according to the Times of Israel. “It is the government of Israel that is violating the status quo, that continues to act in the service of the settlers in what looks like a conscious attempt to incite and inflame the entire region to a religious war.”

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