Regev Responds

Two new records in rudeness and hatefulness by Knesset members

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any lower…

Since Hiddush last newsletter, Israel was exposed to two new records in rudeness and hatefulness of expressions by Knesset members’, one from the Chairman of the Agudat Israel faction, Former Minister MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, and his colleague MK Rabbi Moshe Abutbul of Shas. The other was on the part of former Minister MK David Amsalem [Likud]. Litzman's statement from the Knesset podium was an expression of the growing frustration of the ultra-Orthodox leadership with the Government's policies and the presence and influence of MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

Yaakov Litzman railing against Gilad Kariv, source: Knesset ChannelYaakov Litzman railing against Gilad Kariv, source: Knesset Channel

As is clear to listeners and readers of ultra-Orthodox media - such rude attacks are not only about Kariv, but, rather, against Reform Judaism in Israel and the United States, which are accused of destroying Judaism in America.

During the exchange, Litzman called out to Kariv angrily:

“You are a ‘Reformer’; you are a priest. You are not a rabbi; take off the yarmulke. You simply despise religion; you have to go to America... A law needs to be enacted so that the ‘Reformer’ should return to America. Stop destroying religion here and stop provoking against the law, which is what he is doing at the Western Wall.”

Click here to watch Litzman's harangue

Click here to watch Kariv's response

On the political level, Likud MK David Amsalem’s (one of those closest to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu) attack against Supreme Court Justice David Mintz stunned the public. His attack came in response to his petition against the Minister of Defense, in connection with the appointment of the CEO of IAI, which was rejected, as the Court held that Amsalem lacked standing on the matter.

There is, of course, quite a bit of irony in the very fact that he chose to appeal to the Supreme Court, after many in the Likud, while leading the government, repeatedly attacked the Supreme Court's intervention in government and Knesset decisions. They also tried [together with the ultra-Orthodox parties] to pass legislation which would limit the powers and independence of the Supreme Court. Another irony is that Justice Mintz and Justice Solberg [who joined Mintz together with the third justice on the panel for a unanimous judgment regarding Amsalem's lack of standing] are conservative judges appointed during Ayelet Shaked's tenure as Minister of Justice. Shaked repeatedly expressed her pride for the conservative judges she’d appointed to the various courts.

This judge, before he wrote, he must have drank at least one bottle of arak... He drowned in a pool of arak, he and his friends.

At the Knesset podium Amsalem responded to the ruling and said:

“I got a delusional judge… he rejected the petition. These are mediocre political people and even worse... If he did not drink a bottle of whiskey before writing the decision, my name isn’t Dudi. This judge, before he wrote, he must have drank at least one bottle of arak... He drowned in a pool of arak, he and his friends." MK Amsalem advised Judge Mintz to resign and said: "Even in the introduction for first-year judges, they would not accept you.”

Click here to watch Amsalem's diatribe

This is the same Amsalem who, in the past, when serving as chairman of the Knesset's Interior Committee, played a key role in canceling the Western Wall agreement with the non-Orthodox denominations and with the Women of the Wall, and then later assaulted American Jewry in general and Reform Judaism in particular.

This week, after the Knesset Speaker MK Miki Levy harshly criticized Amsalem’s remarks about the Supreme Court judge and expressed his apology to the court, Amsalem responded with a series of personal insults aimed at the Knesset Speaker, calling him "fool, submissive servant, rag" and more.

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