A Jewish female activist (C) from the Women of the Wall prayer rights group wears a prayer shawl and tefillin during a monthly prayer session near the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) was reprimanded by the Knesset Ethics Committee on Tuesday for calling the Women of the Wall to be “sent to the dogs.”
In February, Porush gave a speech to the plenum in which he talked about the group of women who conduct their own services at the Western Wall in terms taken from that week’s Torah portion.
“It says [in the Book of Exodus] ‘and you will be holy people for me’ continuing ‘and send him [those who are not] to the dogs…’ Rashi says ‘and you will be holy people for me,’ which means if you are holy from abominations and non-kosher food, you are mine. And I say… those who are not far from abominations and non-kosher food should be sent to the dogs,” Porush stated. “The Women of the Wall, this group… belongs by the Dung Gate, at a far-away corner. That’s their place. They should be sent to the dogs.”
The MK’s remarks came after the government voted to create an egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall.
Yitzhak Yaakov, a citizen, complained to the Ethics Committee that if such things were said about Jews in a foreign parliament, they would be condemned.
Porush told the committee: “I have not heard that the Women of the Wall stay away from non-kosher food and meat, and since the Rashi and the Torah ruled as they ruled, and certainly if they make sure to keep kosher and declare they will not eat non-kosher meat, I will apologize to them. I don’t think we can complain about Rashi or the holy words.”
The committee wrote in its decision that Porush’s remarks “deviated radically and blatantly from the accepted way to express oneself in the Knesset or what is appropriate for an MK.”
It is legitimate for an MK to show extreme opposition and protest the Women of the Wall’s behavior, the decision reads, but the expression Porush used is not legitimate, as it denigrates and humiliates a group of women with different customs.
As such, the committee found that Porush violated the ethics regulation requiring lawmakers to “protect the Knesset’s dignity and that of its members and behave in a way that is appropriate for his status and his responsibilities as an MK.”