Arab lawmakers stage walk out of Israeli parliament session

JERUSALEM (AP) " Arab lawmakers have walked out on the Israeli prime minister's speech to parliament as a pre-emptive protest to a planned boycott of them by members of the governing coalition.

Lawmakers from the Joint Arab List say they are protesting the coalition's plan to snub their speeches during the first week of the parliament's winter session, which begins Monday. The coalition is angry that the Arab lawmakers defiantly stayed away from the funeral of late President Shimon Peres.

The Arab lawmakers say the coalition's planned snub is "anti-democratic, racist and dangerous."

The lawmakers rose from their seats as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked toward the dais during the opening session.

The spat underlines the tensions between Netanyahu's right-wing government and the Arab and dovish lawmakers that make up the opposition.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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