Likud MK Miri Regev.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
A Likud lawmaker branded the chief of the Jerusalem police force “a coward” for his handling of the continued rioting in the predominantly Arab areas of east Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported on Friday.
MK Miri Regev, who holds the title of chairwoman of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, is reported to have made the remark during a conversation with the head of the Jerusalem district police, Yossi Pariente.
Israel Radio obtained a recording of the conversation, in which Regev is heard saying that the police needs to “hit the rioters hard.”Pariente
took issue with Regev’s earlier comments suggesting that the police were seeking to do their utmost in avoiding contact with the rioters, the implication being that officers’ leniency was encouraging the violence.
According to Israel Radio, the two spoke during the Knesset panel’s tour of riot-hit areas of east Jerusalem.
In response to Israel Radio’s report, Regev said that her remarks were being misconstrued, and that the comment was made in a “light, friendly tone” during a conversation with the Jerusalem police chief. Regev said the conversation was recorded without the consent of both parties.
The Likud lawmaker, whose blunt manner of speaking has made her no stranger to controversy, went on to praise the Jerusalem commander and his police force for their work in combating the rioters and restoring security to the capital.
Regev’s remarks drew criticism from MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List – Ta’al), who called her “a pyromaniac who is doing all in her power in order to ignite the situation on the ground.” Tibi also accused the Jerusalem police of brutality against the Palestinian population in east Jerusalem.