Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reiterated before the Knesset plenum on Monday that he does not know English and is proud of his better knowledge of the Hebrew language, referring back to an incident in which he struggled while delivering a speech in English in March.
"I don't know English," admitted the chairman of the Religious Zionist party. "By the way, I studied a core curriculum. I did 5 units [of English] for my matriculation. I don't know English, laugh and make up your mind about me. Let's talk economics." The minister referred to the incident in which he struggled speaking in English during a speech in the United States.
Smotrich explained that he learned a lesson from his previous speech that he gave in English - and when he spoke at the OECD conference, he decided to speak in Hebrew. "I told them at first in English - 'I apologize', and then I spoke Hebrew. I learned, it's not a big deal. The director-general of the organization speaks French, the French have national pride. I should be proud of the holy language and the Hebrew language, I'll tell you a secret - nothing happened," he said.
Earlier on Monday, Smotrich blamed the previous government for the economic situation and the cost of living in Israel. According to him, "In just a year and a half, the previous government managed to make difficult moves that severely hurt the citizens of Israel. When you add to that the global crisis that plagues all the economies of the world, you get the result we are dealing with now."
Video of Smotrich speaking English went viral in March
In March, a video of Smotrich giving a speech before the Israel Bonds conference went viral, with social media users making fun of the minister's broken English. Smotrich has made light of the incident, writing in a post after that trip to the US "they loved my first ever speech in English" with a winking emoji at the end of the sentence.