Haredi MKs and Beit Shemesh mayoral candidate Eli Cohen exchanged fierce words on Monday in a Knesset committee hearing on preparations for new municipal elections due to take place next month.
The hearing in the Committee for the Interior and Environmental Protection was called to discuss logistical preparations for the upcoming elections.
But tempers soon frayed when Cohen read from an anonymous haredi campaign poster which appeared recently in the city, which said that the elections were not a matter of politics but a one in which life and death depended and, quoting a Biblical verse, said that people had to defend their lives and, implicitly, vote for haredi candidate and current mayor Moshe Abutbul.
Cohen described the poster as incitement but MK Yaakov Asher accused him of being a provocateur.
“Your campaign of incitement will not make you mayor... I’m sorry to disappoint you but you won’t succeed... the elections will be decided at the polling booths and there, God willing, we will win,” said Asher angrily.
At one stage Cohen interrupted Asher who responded harshly, telling him “you’re not a member of Knesset, you’re not even a mayor, you’re a candidate for mayor, give respect, sit in quiet.”
Asher, who was eventually ejected from the committee hearing, accused committee chairwoman MK Miri Regev of political bias in her dealings on the issue.
During the hearing, the national Elections Commissioner Yossi Baron said that there would be two secretaries at every voting booth in the city neither of whom would be Beit Shemesh residents, along with at least one policeman.
There will be 89 polling stations throughout Beit Shemesh and there are 50,466 eligible voters.