The Washington Post

GOP debates can’t top the Israeli Knesset

For political junkies here, the GOP presidential primary debates have been a source of endless fascination and entertainment. But at least they’ve been largely cordial.

Seems that in Israel, debates can quickly become shouting matches and worse. Take for example a heated exchange Monday between Anastassia Michaeli of the hard-line conservative Yisrael Beiteinu party and Raleb Majadele, an Arab-Israeli member of the Labor Party, at a Knesset (parliament) education committee meeting.

The issue was a reprimand that had been meted out to the principal of an Arab-Israeli high school, who took students to a human rights march last month in Tel Aviv, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

“You are marching against the state,” Michaeli shouted at Majadele, who was sitting a couple chairs away.

“Shut up,” he yelled, shouting that “she won’t shut me up. . . The issue of fascism won’t stop here. . . Fascism will not be allowed to take over the house.”

“It is disrespectful to the status of women in the Knesset,” Michaeli shouted back. Each vowed to take the other to the ethics committee.

Michaeli gathered up her papers and started walking out of the room. Then she pivoted and came back to pour herself a plastic cup of water — which she promptly threw at Majadele’s face, soaking his shirt and lap. She then stormed out.

Majadele smiled a bit as he gathered himself. No Haaretz translation here, but he appeared to be telling the committee that Michaeli’s actions proved his point.

Surely Robert’s Rules of Order has been translated into Hebrew?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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