Lapid Appoints Arab MK Who Snubs National Anthem As Consul

Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi. (Photo: Elad Malka)

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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday managed to kill three birds with one stone: fill a vacant diplomatic position, distance a rebellious MK, and showcase the coalition’s commitment to diversity.

Lapid appointed Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi as Israel’s consul-general to Shanghai, the first Arab Muslim woman to fill such a senior diplomatic position.

In January, Zoabi broke coalition discipline and voted against the Chareidi draft bill, causing the coalition its most embarrassing defeat. The bill passed two weeks later, this time with Zoabi’s support, but not without capitulation by Bennett’s government. Zoabi explained her support for the bill by saying that she did so after “reaching understandings with the coalition about Bedouin problems in the Negev, and of course, after the government committed not to use the Chareidi draft law for the ratification of a similar law for the Arab sector.”

Just two days ago, Zoabi also threatened to sabotage Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s economic plan, telling Kol B’Ramah: “I’m on the Finance Committee with social activists from the coalition and opposition, and together we’ll alter Lieberman’s plan. I won’t allow it to pass as it is.”

In an interview with Reshet Bet on Wednesday morning, Zoabi was asked if she would sing along when Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah is played at a consulate event. She responded: “I don’t know the anthem by heart – the phrase ‘Jewish soul’ excludes me.”

Religious Zionist party chairman Betzalel Smotrich said on Wednesday: “I didn’t react yesterday to Lapid’s announcement simply because I had no words left. It’s as if there is no abyss that this government won’t stoop to – governmental, Zionist, or ethical. The question is – is there a red line that those who previously defined themselves as right-wing will stop at? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so.”

Even members of the coalition slammed the appointment, with Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (New Hope) saying: “It’s inconceivable that a person with non-Zionist views like her will be the face of Israel in an important country in the world.”

Shas MK Moshe Arbel said: “Zoavi is not a lover of Zion. When she’ll need to stand against the world in the case of an IDF operation, she’ll be able to faithfully represent Israel? I doubt it. The whole purpose is political. As soon as [MK Eli] Avidar announced he is quitting his position, another step in dismantling the government, they created this political ploy.”

On Tuesday, in a major blow to the coalition, Strategic Planning Minister Eli Avidar announced that he is resigning from the cabinet and is returning to the Knesset as an MK, the first minister from the coalition to do so.

It should be noted that when Netanyahu was the prime minister, Lapid railed against his appointment of Danny Danon as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, saying that Danon has no diplomatic experience, and as usual, Netanyahu is placing his political concerns ahead of the state. Now, Lapid not only appointed Zoabi despite her diplomatic inexperience and her dubious commitment to the Jewish State, but he also reportedly offered Avidar to choose any diplomatic position in the world in order to prevent a coalition crisis. He also offered him the role of the head of the Jewish Agency. Avidar refused both offers.

Likud MK Yisrael Katz said: “Lapid appointed the rebel MK to the Israeli consulate in Shanghai – to keep her out of the Knesset. The ‘change’ government is breaking new records of cynicism and political corruption.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Apparently she doesnt have the diplomatic skills she thinks she has. Its like an atheist who wont use money as it says on the bill “in G-d we trust”. She should go live in Saudi Arabia.