(photo credit: Knesset Website)
United Torah Judaism MK Shmuel Halpert said during a committee session for children's rights Wednesday that he believed it was okay for parents to hit their children.
Halpert, a father of six children, said that "hitting a child as part of his education is for his own good." Halpert went on to admit that when it was needed he hit his own children.
His comments sparked the anger of Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich, who was also participating in the meeting.
"You are complaining that hitting children is not allowed, here in the committee for children's rights?" she asked Halpert.
"Believe me," said Halpert, that when children were hit, the education was much better. It is, by the way, better for the child." Yacimovich responded to his remarks by saying that, "hitting children is immoral, unhealthy and completely invalid. I hereby object to what you have said in this specific context."
Halpert backed his comments with an example from the Torah. "King Solomon, the smartest of all people, said 'one who spares the rod hates his son.' No one can deny this. Even if we wanted to say we are the smartest people on earth, still, we are not smarter than King Solomon," said Halpert.
"Are you saying that you hit your child?" asked Yacimovich.
"When the need arose," responded Halpert.
In response to Halpert's comments, the Israel National Council for the Child said it was "depressing and aggravating to think that a person who calls himself a lawmaker takes pride in acting in a way that breaks the law and encourages violence." "Education through violence is not education, it is violence pure and simple," the council said.