Israeli opposition lawmakers Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Religious Zionist Party and Ayman Odeh of the Joint List clashed Tuesday morning at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot outside the room of a Hamas operative going on a hunger strike, Israeli media reported.
The two ended up engaging in a verbal and physical confrontation outside the hospital room.
The Hamas terrorist, Moked al-Qawasmi, is currently on the 91st day of his hunger strike, done in protest of his detention.
The Religious Zionist MK ostensibly came to “closely check” Qawasmi’s conditions, as well as to “see up close this miracle that a person remains alive despite not eating for several months,” Walla reported.
Odeh soon arrived, however, and shouted “Why are you the one telling me not to go in there?!”
בית חולים קפלן . מקדאק אלקוואסמי שובת רעב כבר 90 יום במחאה על מעצרו המנהלי. בן גביר בא לבקר. עודה בולם. pic.twitter.com/erQlZEFDyy
— Jack khoury.جاك خوري (@KhJacki) October 19, 2021
Ben-Gvir and Odeh angrily pushed each other and had to be separated by civilians at the scene.
Afterward, Ben-Gvir announced he would be filing a complaint against the Joint List MK.
“Odeh committed a serious and criminal action. The MK has no immunity to attack another MK,” he said in a statement.
“We have all seen the pictures of Ayman still trying to attack me,” Ben-Gvir added.
“This indicates the conduct among Knesset members from the Joint List and Ra’am. They act like they own the place.”
He further clarified his intentions at the hospital. “I asked the director of the hospital to check the conditions of the prisoner and in the end, despite Odeh’s conduct, I entered the ward and was under the impression that Israel continues to be a terrorist’s paradise.”
Odeh later tweeted about the incident as well.
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) October 19, 2021
“Convicted terrorist Ben-Gvir tried to harm the patient. I blocked it,” he tweeted alongside a photo from the incident. “Kahanism shall not pass.”
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy condemned Odeh for the violence, as he struck first in the altercation.
“Raising an MK’s hand on another MK is a crossing of all red lines,” Levy said in a statement.
“I have warned all along that if the opposition does not allow the establishment of the Ethics Committee, we will degenerate from verbal clashes to physical ones like we’ve seen today. I call on the members of the opposition to allow an Ethics Committee to be established so the Knesset can function properly and in a stately manner, with sanctions placed on those who behave inappropriately.”
In response, opposition coordinator MK Yariv Levin (Likud) said that as long as the coalition continues staffing the Knesset Committees unfairly, the opposition will not cooperate.
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) also demanded the establishment of the Ethics Committee.
“The sight of MKs attacking each other – physically and verbally – is a disgrace and a badge of shame on our chosen representatives,” the movement’s spokesperson said.
“Members of Knesset, come to your senses,” he said. “Establish the Ethics Committee immediately. This is the only way to ensure that public servants behave appropriately and respectfully and that whoever does not will be sanctioned. Respect must be returned to the house of representatives,” he said.