The Knesset Ethics Committee decided not to sanction MKs Oren Hazan (Likud) and Ayelet Nahmias- Verbin (Zionist Union) for their shouting match in the legislature’s parking lot last month.
In a decision published Wednesday, the Ethics Committee decided “not to get into ‘a battle of versions’ between MKs over the question of ‘who started it.’” Hazan’s complaint to the committee said Nahmias-Verbin “attacked me with curses and shouting, while I was sitting in the MKs’ entrance [to the Knesset] without any previous provocation by me. The attack continued in the parking lot.”
According to Nahmias-Verbin, Hazan had tried to provoke her throughout the day and during the plenum meeting. On her way out of the Knesset, she said Hazan told her: “I used to think you were a person, but you’re subhuman.” Following that comment, the Zionist Union MK, said, “I shouted at him that he shouldn’t speak to me. He crossed a line... I have before never felt my dignity trampled in this way by a work colleague.”
The committee watched security footage of the incident and heard testimony from a Knesset security guard who had witnessed the incident.
“There is no doubt that the event...
part of which was broadcast in the media, is seen in a most negative way by the public, and it reflects on the Knesset’s image,” the committee’s decision reads. “We see such events as deteriorating the Knesset’s status and that of its members, and truly harming the public’s trust in them.”
This was the first time a complaint had been lodged against Nahmias- Verbin, so the committee decided not to punish her for her “harsh and disproportionate outburst” towards Hazan.
Hazan has been the subject of many complaints to the Ethics Committee, but it found that he is not fully responsible for the incident in question and as such will not be punished.
The Ethics Committee called on MKs to respect one another and be more aware of how their behavior influences the way the public sees the Knesset.
Continued poor behavior will bring serious sanctions, like removal from committee and plenum meetings and docking salaries, the committee warned.
On Tuesday, Hazan said that he does not trust the “politicized” Ethics Committee or accept its authority.
The panel released a statement – something it rarely does other than to announce its decisions – pointing out that it is comprised of an equal number of coalition and opposition members and calling Hazan’s statements a manipulative attempt to delegitimize the committee and its decisions.