Senior attorney David Hodak caused a stir at the Israeli Bar Association conference in Eilat on Wednesday evening after proclaiming that, should someone force him to live in a dictatorship, he would "have no choice but to use live fire."
Hodak, who was invited to be part of a panel discussing the Israeli government's controversial judicial reform, said that "if someone forces me to live in a dictatorship and I don't have any other choice - I will not hesitate to use live fire."
"I will not live a single day in a dictatorship," Hodak exclaimed.
Hodak's comments received a mixed response from the crowd, with some applauding the senior lawyer while others claimed a police complaint should be filed against him for incitement against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
Hodak, 70, is one of the attorneys heading the successful Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg, Shenhav & Co. law firm. He is also the recipient of a Medal of Courage from the IDF for his service as a commander in the Israeli military's Armored Corps during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Israel Bar Association's recent controversies, Knesset fights over judicial reform
The Israel Bar Association held its conference in the southernmost Israeli city on Wednesday, still reeling from the resignation of its former head, Avi Himi, after accusations of sexual bribery were leveled against him. According to a Channel 13 report earlier this week, Himi allegedly did sexual acts in a video call with a female lawyer seeking his aid in securing a recommendation to become a judge.
During Wednesday's session of the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee discussing the judicial reforms proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, chairman Simcha Rothman accused High Court of Justice president Esther Hayut of attempting to interfere in the Knesset's legislative process.
The chairman also condemned aggressive rhetoric by critics of the reforms, referring to members of Knesset referring to the process being like D9 military bulldozers and former High Court president Aharon Barak comparing the legal proposals to a revolution with tanks.
"Anyone who wants to come and discuss in order to prevent this [discourse], I will extend my hand," said Rothman.
"Anyone who wants to come and discuss in order to prevent this [discourse], I will extend my hand"MK Simcha Rothman
Michael Starr contributed to this report.