A Likud lawmaker declared Monday that he “prefer[s] Jewish murderers over Arab murderers,” and claimed there have never been Jewish terrorists, during a heated hearing over legislation that would strip convicted terrorists who receive stipends from the Palestinian Authority of their citizenship.
MK Hanoch Milwidsky’s comments drew rebuke from Ahmad Tibi, from the mainly Arab Hadash-Ta’al party, but were backed by several other right-wing parliamentarians during the House Committee hearing.
Milwidsky argued that “crude tools… that might infringe upon certain rights” must be used in order to fight terror, including a death penalty for terrorists and repercussions for their families.
Tibi retorted that the proposed legislation unfairly targets Arabs and asked why similar measures weren’t being pushed to revoke the citizenship of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir or that of Ami Popper, who massacred seven Palestinian workers in Rishon Lezion in 1990.
“I do not feel any need to justify myself for the fact that I, in the Jewish state, prefer Jews. Yes, Ahmad Tibi, [I prefer] Jewish murderers over Arab murderers,” Milwidsky said as Tibi expressed disbelief.
“And as a general rule, I prefer Jews over disloyal Arabs. We’re done apologizing for this,” Milwidsky added, borrowing rhetoric used by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who has described himself as a disciple of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane.
"אני מעדיף רוצחים יהודים על רוצחים ערבים" – כך אמר @hanochmilwidsky ל-@Ahmad_tibi, שבתגובה ביקש ממנו לומר כך גם בשפה האנגלית@Likud_Party @OfirKatzMK @limor_sonhrmelh @BismuthBoaz pic.twitter.com/dNVAgAu5Se
— ערוץ כנסת (@KnessetT) January 9, 2023
The Likud MK argued that Tibi’s outrage was disingenuous, as he had recently praised a Palestinian who was released from Israeli prison after serving a 40-year sentence for murdering an IDF soldier. Tibi said the convict, Karim Younis, regretted the attack, but defended his principled position in favor of ending Israel’s military rule over the Palestinians.
Tibi said Milwidsky comments about Jewish and Arab murderers best “encapsulates” Israel’s newest government and dared the Likud MK to repeat them in English.
“A Jewish murderer is better and [more] superior than an Arab murder?” Tibi asked in English
“Than an Arab terrorist, yes… There is (sic) no Jewish terrorists… So far there were no Jewish terrorists,” Milwidsky replied in English.
Milwidsky was defended by MK Limor Son Har-Melech of Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, who later told the Ynet news site that “whoever murders an Arab should be put in prison for the rest of his life, and whoever murders a Jew should be put to death.”
The MK, whose husband was killed in a terror attack in 2003, also said that “any terrorist who kills a Jew for nationalist reasons opposes the existence of the State of Israel and cannot be a citizen of the state.”
Milwidsky is a freshman lawmaker who entered politics after a decades-long career as an attorney. He served as a legal adviser for the Bnei Baruch religious community that some critics have likened to a cult.