Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett gestures during a preliminary vote on a bill at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 16, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded sharply to criticism of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's request to fire Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber in a speech in the Knesset Wednesday.
"I hear a community of whiners. What are you saying? Why are you complaining?" Bennet said. "After forty years, the right was voted in, and you're complaining. The right controls academia, education, and legislation. We control everything."
"You want to continue complaining? We're done with the right-wing where people vote for the right and actually receive the left," Bennett added. "Now when you vote for the right you get the right! The public will decide!"
Earlier Wednesday, MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) attacked Shaked in the Knesset. "Take your hands off of Dina Zilber!" she said. "You and Bennett and Smotrich are trying to pass anti-democratic and anti-constitutional legislation. Today it's Zilber, tomorrow it's the Attorney-General himself."
The Knesset debate followed a no-confidence vote sparked by Zilber's firing proposed by the Meretz party.
Late Tuesday night, Shaked called on Mandelblit to fire Zilber for her public comments against the government's cultural loyalty bill
and other recent laws opposed by the legal establishment as impinging on the rule of law and civil rights.
The loyalty bill would allow government funds to be withheld from cultural institutions deemed insufficiently loyal to the state in a series of particular categories, such as undermining the state's validity.
More significantly to Mandelblit, Shaked said she had decided that Zilber would no longer be allowed to represent the government position in the Knesset or in other government forums, alleging she had displayed personal bias and that she should join an opposition political party.
With uncharacteristic terseness, Mandelblit answered back on Wednesday that Shaked had exceeded her authority and had no control over Zilber's public appearances.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.
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