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Israeli lawmakers use provocation to win popularity

With provocation becoming the new media’s lifeblood, the Knesset’s ethics committee is struggling to chastise outrageous behavior by Israeli lawmakers.
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In a scandalous video, Likud Knesset member Oren Hazan confronted Arab Knesset member Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) in the Knesset’s press area Jan. 22. Hazan is seen using derisive language and crude gestures to prevent Zahalka from giving an interview. The recorded incident caused a stir across social networks. Hazan hurled verbal abuse at Zahalka: “Terrorist,” “nobody,” “criminal” and “floor rag” were just some of his choice terms. “We’ll throw you out of here! Your hands are stained with Jewish blood! Jerusalem is ours and will always be ours! We’ll let you pick weeds at best!” When the Knesset guard tried to remove him, Hazan started shouting at them too: “Why are you protecting him?”

The video documents some of the worst behavior ever seen in the Knesset. It seems obvious that Hazan planned his provocation and, as far as he is concerned, it was a huge success. Not only did he prevent Zahalka from being interviewed, he also won precious airtime — over five minutes, an eternity on television — on all TV channels on the same day that US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Knesset. As if all that weren't enough for Hazan, he also posted the video on Facebook for his 110,000 followers.

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