Amnon De Hartog
Photo: Atta Awisat
MK Yakov Cohen
Photo: Amnon Meranda

Just slap 'em

Israelis back official who hit religious MK. But what if he had slapped a leftist?

Amnon De Hartog, a senior official in the Justice Ministry of all places, hit a Knesset member inside the Knesset. Why? Because the MK insulted him.


To be honest, I was certain that the entire country would be overcome by shame; that the justice minister would appear on live television and express his shock; that a rally would be held at a square somewhere to protest this violent climax never seen here before.


After all, when someone occasionally gets more inflammatory than usual at the Knesset, television stations air images from the Korean parliament, where parliamentarians traded blows, while the newscaster sighs and says, well, at least we haven't reached this shameful stage.


So there, we have now reached this shameful stage. And it may be even worse here, because we did not see violence among Knesset members, who after all were elected in order to engage in the most emotional arguments and argue over the most sensitive issues. In this case, a public official hit an elected official. The man hit his boss.


After all, the public is the sovereign, Knesset members represent the public, and government ministers along with the various public officials work for them. It is as though a platoon commander or regiment commander would suddenly attack the chief of staff and hit him. Why? Because the army chief insulted him.


I would not bother so much with this matter, had I not read the newspapers and listened to the radio the day after. I was stunned to discover that most commentators sympathize with the attacker.


The general attitude was that the Knesset member who was hit deserved it. Formally, said all the wise people, of course one should never ever resort to violence. But just between us? He deserved to be slapped.


What if a Jew hit an Arab MK?

A well-known radio announcer said that someone who calls another Jew "German" or "Nazi" deserves to be dragged to Rabin square, have his pants removed, and be subjected to some whipping. This radio announcer may wish to start with a newspaper editor who referred to far right activist Itamar Ben Gvir as "Nazi," and was sued and convicted for it.


There was also the late leftist Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz with his Judeo-Nazi comment, and former leftist MK Shulamit Aloni, who referred to any rival as Mussolini, be it Yitzhak Rabin or Benjamin Netanyahu. So do they deserve to be hit? Would you wink to someone who slapped them and slap him on the shoulder with affection?


It is indeed a very ugly thing to tell a Jew that he is worse than the Germans. It is also a very ugly thing to tell a Knesset member that he is an animal. Yet this is not the issue here.


If someone would have slapped a leftist Knesset member, you would hold a huge rally and demand that he be brought to justice. If a Jew would have hit an Arab Knesset member, you would be whining and starting to eulogize the country.


Yet here, we are talking about an ultra-Orthodox Knesset member. And ultra-Orthodox deserve to be slapped. Always. If he said "German" then because of that, and if he did not say "German" then because of something else.


You see someone ultra-Orthodox? Slap him on the face. He deserves it.


פרסום ראשון: 07.15.07, 01:13
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