(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin banned Member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) from entering the President’s Residence and from participating in a meeting the president called with Israeli-Arab leaders, due to Zahalka’s condolence visit to Palestinian terrorists’ families last month.
Zahalka had asked to participate in the meeting two hours before it began. Despite his aides being informed in advance that he would not be allowed into the building, Zahalka showed up and unsuccessfully attempted to enter, Israel Hayom reported.
In light of Rivlin’s decision, Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh and fellow party member MK Masud Ganaim also canceled their participation in the meeting.
“While, unfortunately, individual Knesset members have chosen to undermine, in one way or another, our ability to establish trust between us, we are here today because we believe in our path,” Rivlin said at the meeting. “I expect to hear loud and clear from you, leaders of the Arab public, that the Arab public is fed up with these foolish attempts.”
Zahalka said, “I decided to participate. I notified the President’s Residence of this, and I was told that all the seats at the event were full and that there were no free spots. I didn’t know there was a chair shortage at the President’s Residence. They should seriously consider creating a budget to purchase additional chairs.”