Lamentations, Shakespeare and Moroccan slang entertain in Knesset filibuster

Deliberations over the controversial “police recommendations bill” continued all night.

December 27, 2017 07:13
2 minute read.
A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli

A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 31, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Book of Lamentations, the works of William Shakespeare and a contest on WhatsApp helped opposition MKs fill a marathon filibuster Tuesday during deliberations over the controversial “police recommendations bill.”

The latest draft of the bill bars the police from offering recommendations to the attorney-general as to whether or not to indict at the end of the highest-profile investigations. However, the attorney-general may ask for them in investigations that have already begun.

The bill would also make those leaking contents of a police investigation liable for a prison sentence of up to a year.

Opposition MKs issued 1,280 amendments to the bill, which are set to be voted on in the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday, unless the opposition decides to withdraw them all and ask for a snap vote to catch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition off-guard.

Meanwhile, MKs in the coalition reported not sleeping for more than 24 hours. After passing other bills in the evening and into the night, deliberations on the recommendations bill began at 2:40 a.m. and were scheduled to last some 45 hours, ahead of a vote on the bill and its amendments.

Amid the circus-like atmosphere in the plenum, Yesh Atid faction head Ofer Shelah gave the nearly empty room a lesson in Shakespeare, comparing corruption in his books to the current situation with Netanyahu.

“King Richard III was even worse than our prime minister,” Shelah said.

Cabel compared the current state of Israel to the days of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem described in the Book of Lamentations. After reading from the book in modern Hebrew, he entertained MKs by reading in the style that was used in his family’s native Yemen.

Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson asked the public to send him messages on Whatsapp, the best of which he read over the course of three hours. Yesh Atid MK Miki Levy was set to speak for several hours Wednesday but is not expected to break the record of 10 hours and seven minutes held by Likud MK Michael Eitan for a 1993 speech.

Coalition chairman David Amsalem stayed in the plenum for the marathon session, heckling and responding to the opposition MKs. When he spoke, he accused Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid of being the most corrupt MK due to his frequent trips abroad at the expense of taxpayers.

Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen responded by defending Lapid using slang from Morocco, where Amsalem and Cohen’s families are from.

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