A Knesset legal adviser disabused them of a literal interpretation of the turn of phrase, leading them at first to express frustration, then disappointment.
Jerusalem, May 14 – Legislators from the Joint List alliance of mostly-Arab parties in the Knesset admitted feeling let down today upon discovering that calls for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s head represent mere figures of speech, and do not indicate the prospect, or desire, to detach the premier’s head from the rest of his body.
MKs Aida Touma-Suleiman of the Hadash Party and Jamal Zahalka of Balad were heard to swear under their breath at the discovery, which they made after inquiring as to the implications of the rhetoric under existing laws governing incitement to violence or terrorism. A Knesset legal adviser disabused the two of a literal interpretation of the turn of phrase, leading the pair at first to express frustration, then disappointment.
“I could depict my concern as a function of care for my colleagues in the legislature,” confessed Touma-Suleiman, “but let us be honest: all I wanted to know was whether I might participate in this off-with-his-head-fest without legal consequence. So on the one hand I’m glad to be able to indulge in the locution with abandon, but on the other, I have to admit at least a small sense of feeling misled, and yes, dashed hopes that we might be able to accomplish such a thing. Oh, well.”
Zahalka noted that the misconception stemmed from the broader geopolitical context. “If you look at all the societies around us, you’ll see public beheadings are a thing,” he explained. “It never occurred to me – to us, and I’m sure I speak for more than just myself and Aida here – that there might be a non-literal way to throw around the phrase. I mean, we Arabs exaggerate all the time: Gaza as the most densely populated place in the world; the population of Palestine; the number of Palestine refugees; the venerability of Palestinian peoplehood and culture; and the number of noncombatants killed by Israel, just to name a few. It’s not such a stretch from that kind of rhetoric to an embellished description of bringing an end to a politician’s career, employing familiar decapitation imagery. Still, that’s a new one on me.”
Other lawmakers confirmed they had always been aware that calling for Netanyahu’s head is intended figuratively, but nevertheless would not have stood in the way had their colleagues attempted to implement the phrase literally. “To interfere with such an authentic expression of indigenous culture would be doubly offensive,” insisted Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On. “Unless the target of the beheading were someone on the left of the political spectrum, in which case it would constitute incitement of the worst order.”
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