Rabble-rouser MK Oren Hazan made incendiary comments in the plenary on Tuesday, calling Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein – a former refusenik – “Stalin,” shortly before Hazan began serving a six-month suspension from the Knesset for ethics violations.
Edelstein spent three years at hard labor in Siberian prison camps on fabricated drug charges, after he asked to be allowed to move to Israel and secretly conducted Hebrew classes in his home.
Hazan compared Edelstein to Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of people, because the Knesset speaker used a rule allowing him to eject a lawmaker who interrupts a special Knesset meeting after the first offense.
The Likud provocateur later apologized, calling his comment a “Freudian slip.”
After Hazan’s remark comparing the Knesset speaker to a murderous tyrant, MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) and Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) organized a walkout of their colleagues during the rest of Hazan’s speech.
“Shame! Shame on this house,” Bar said.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Revital Swid, of the Zionist Union, who was running the plenum meeting, demanded that Hazan apologize, but he refused. Since Hazan was presenting a bill he proposed, he was allowed to have the stage.
“Edelstein is giving a prize to terrorists,” Hazan lamented from the Knesset’s podium. “How there be a reality in which I, who fights for IDF soldiers not to be called murderers [by Joint List MKs], am punished? How can it be that when I shut the mouth of [Joint List MK Jamal] Zahalka, who said two weeks ago that our flag is worse than a rag... I’m the one who’s punished?”