Rafi Walden addresses Arab MKs’ silence since Peres’s passing: “Surprised and disappointed in them”

In a conversation with Channel 2 News, Prof. Rafi Walden, the personal doctor and son-in-law of Shimon Peres, addressed the Arab Knesset Members’ silence since the passing of Israel’s 9th president: “The Arab-Israelis are missing an opportunity to express their appreciation for a man who did more than any other person in Israel to attain peace.”
"Surprised and dissappointed." Walden Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Dozens of delegations from across the globe and numerous public figures will take part in the funeral of Israel’s 9th President and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who will be buried tomorrow (Friday) at Mount Herzl. But absent from the ceremony will be the Arab-Israeli Knesset Members, who failed to publically express their condolences for Peres’s passing and some of which have since criticized his policies and legacy

In a conversation with Channel 2 News, Peres’s son-in-law and personal doctor, Prof. Rafi Walden, expressed his disappointment with the Arab-Israeli MKs. “I am surprised and disappointed in them,” he stated. “There is a famous saying by Abba Eban that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This time, unfortunately, the Arab-Israelis are missing an exceptional opportunity to express their appreciation for a man who did more than any other person in Israel to attain peace and love between Arabs and Jews, both within Israel and between Israel and its neighbors. It’s a shame.”

Will be buried at Mount Herzl tomorrow Photo Credit: GPO / Channel 2 News

Walden also addressed the many condolences he received as well as the sight of the Israeli masses passing by Peres’s coffin to pay their respects. “We are very moved to see this rare combination of our personal grief and national or even international grief,” he stated. “He would definitely have been very pleased to see hundreds of world leaders who have come here for this impressive and unprecedented gesture to honor the work and personality of Peres.”

Ever since the news about Peres’ passing made headlines, no member of the Joint Arab List has issued a statement offering his or her condolences. MK Basel Ghattas, who harshly spoke out against Israel’s 9th President when he was hospitalized in critical condition, refused to comment when he was asked why he has not mentioned Peres’ death.

The Joint Arab List. Archives Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90 / Channel 2 News

Joint Arab List head MK Ayman Odeh dismissed the criticism that was hurled towards the members of his political party due to their silence. “This is something complex, not easy,” said Odeh during an interview with Army Radio. “There’s a completely different political perception. Complex messages can be brought up later.”

“I’m not part of the celebration of Peres’ life,” clarified Odeh. “However, out of respect, I chose to keep quiet during this period. I will not participate in Peres’ funeral. I am not part of the celebration regarding the nuclear reactor, the year 1948 and his cooperation with [David] Ben Gurion.”

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