National Union MK: Pope an anti-Semite
In heated Knesset meeting, Michael Ben-Ari refers to Benedict XVI as 'graduate of Hitler youth,' says pope 'continues to blame Jewish people for killing of Jesus'
A heated meeting was held at the Knesset on Tuesday morning, after Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union)
demanded an urgent discussion on the pope's upcoming visit
Ben-Ari argued that Benedict XVI was arriving with "unclean hands", but his demand was rejected.
The MK went on to say that the Knesset must voice its opinion on the pope, who he claimed "is an anti-Semite, was a member of the Hitler youth and returned a Holocaust-denying bishop
to the Church."
He also said that "the pope continues to blame the Jewish people for the killing of Jesus."
The Knesset Presidency rejected the request to hold a discussion, but Ben-Ari filed an appeal, claiming that it was in the public's interest to hold a discussion on a state visit which would be carried out without any protest against "the Jewish people's bloody score with the Church." He said that the Israeli parliament should at least voice its opinion on the matter.
By rejecting his proposal, he said, "there was fear of silencing so as not to damage our image in the eyes of the Church." He added, "What we have here is a battle of faiths between Christianity and Judaism, and the plan to use the pope's visit in order to hand over property to the Catholic Church is a theological and national matter."
representatives, former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and former Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, said that the decision not to hold the discussion was justified. It's only goal, said Bar-On, was to "ignite a fire which would be difficult to put out."
The National Union MK said that the decision was a blow to the freedom of expression, to which Bar-On replied, "This is not a blow to the freedom of expression, but an attempt to prevent anarchy of expression."
Itzik said that Israel must not complain to the pope, whose visit should be welcomed in light of his great contribution to bringing Judaism and Christianity closer together.