Speaker defends MK’s keffiyeh
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Speaker defends MK’s keffiyeh

Yuli Edelstein says traditional Palestinian garb is no different than a yarmulke, after MK Miri Regev denounces scarf as incitement

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Balad MK Basel Ghattas and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on November 12, 2014 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Balad MK Basel Ghattas and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on November 12, 2014 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein shot down criticism against an Arab MK who addressed the Knesset while wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf, arguing that it was no different than wearing a yarmulke.

Likud MK Miri Regev fiercely opposed Balad MK Basel Ghattas’s decision to wear the keffiyeh, which has been associated by some with Palestinian nationalism and terror.

Regev accused Ghattas of fanning the flames of incitement with his “pathetic performance” in the Knesset.

Regev turned to Knesset Speaker Edelstein to protest the garb, asking whether it violated Knesset protocol, but the fellow Likud MK promptly rejected her claim.

“We wear yarmulkes, he can come with a keffiyeh,” Edelstein, himself an Orthodox Jew, said.

“MK Ghattas is yet another one of those Trojan horses taking advantage of the Knesset podium and representing the terror organizations, and therefore he belongs out of Israel’s Knesset,” Regev said later in a statement posted on Facebook.

Ghattas, a Christian Arab, said he was wearing the keffiyeh in solidarity with Muslim students in northern Israel who he said were attacked for wearing the headdress by Druze students.

Once the hubbub died down, the Arab MK called on Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to resign in the wake of the relentless clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

“Your question is not worth a reaction, but I will say I have no intention to resign, to your dismay,” replied Aharonovitch.

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