Arab-Israeli leader to be probed for shoving Kahanist lawmaker

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The chairman of the Joint List alliance of predominantly Arab parties is expected to be investigated by police on suspicion of assaulting a Kahanist lawmaker in October, outside the hospital room of a hunger-striking Palestinian.

The incident occurred at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, to which the Palestinian, Mukdad Qawasmeh, was admitted after he launched a hunger strike in protest at his administrative detention.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, of the extreme-right Religious Zionism party, said that he had come to visit Qawasmeh, but the Palestinian and his mother refused to meet with him, saying that the lawmaker came to the hospital as a provocation.

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh was with the Qawasmeh family at the hospital at the time and approached Ben-Gvir. The two confronted each other in the presence of hospital security staff; a video of the incident shows Odeh shoving Ben-Gvir while hospital security guards try to separate them. Odeh is expected to be questioned under caution as a criminal suspect.

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh at a conference in Jaffa, in November.Hadas Parush

The police are also expected to take testimony from Ben-Gvir in the next few days to get his version of events. Police regulations require the prior approval of the attorney general before questioning a Knesset member, and a police official said they have already received such permission. Haaretz has not yet received a response from the Attorney General’s Office on the matter.

The police have also decided to investigate Ben-Gvir after he drew his gun and threatened two Arab security guards in a parking dispute in Tel Aviv in December. The two guards are also expected to be questioned on suspicions of threatening Ben-Gvir. The case is supposed to be handled by the fraud division of the Tel Aviv District Police.

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