As coalition members struggled to perform damage control after the government had to withdraw the Israel Lands Administration reform plan from the plenum on Wednesday, Likud spokespeople were also scrambling to reduce the backlash over an insulting comment made by a party employee to MK Orly Levy (Israel Beiteinu) during the debate.
Aliza Barashi, the Likud's faction manager in the Knesset, apologized publicly on Thursday to Levy, a former model, for shouting, "Bimbo, go back to modeling!" when it became clear that Levy was going to vote against the ILA reform.
Barashi said the remark was made "in the heat of the moment," and that only some of the comments that media claimed that she directed at Levy were accurately reported.
She "hopes that after the apology, we will be able to continue cooperating for the good of the Knesset and the government."
Levy said that while she accepted the apology, "this is a fundamental issue about the standards of Knesset discourse."
Speaking to Army Radio, Levy criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying he had heard the remark yet failed to do anything.
"The prime minister was very close by, and while I would like to think that he didn't hear the comment, I find that very hard to believe. She [Barashi] screamed it as she entered the hall," Levy said.
"The remark was made in the presence of the prime minister, who didn't rebuke her even for one moment."