Likud MK's posts insulting ally Smotrich resurface in Knesset plenum

"Who said these things about Smotrich and his wife?" MK Ahmad Tibi rhetorically asked the Knesset before reading a 2016 post from Likud MK Tali Gottleib.

AHMAD TIBI: When he [Netanyahu] says ‘Ahmad Tibi,’ he means Ahmad the Arab. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
AHMAD TIBI: When he [Netanyahu] says ‘Ahmad Tibi,’ he means Ahmad the Arab.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Hadash-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi sparked outrage on the Knesset plenum on Tuesday when he read out a 2016 social media post made by Likud MK Tali Gottlieb that harshly criticized her coalition ally Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and his wife Revital.

"Who said these things about Smotrich and his wife?" Tibi rhetorically asked the Knesset before reading from the post.

"Smotrich, your silly hair doesn't impress me. Your silence covers a soul full of prejudices without any real hope of compassion. It scares me. Smotrich's wife [is] uneducated, isolationist and racist."

As he continued speaking, members of the Knesset, in particular Likud MK Gottleib, began to shout, until Tibi eventually stepped down off the podium.

 Religious Zionist leader MK Bezalel Smotrich. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Religious Zionist leader MK Bezalel Smotrich. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

What was said about Bezalel Smotrich and his wife?

The post in question was made by Gottlieb in 2016 on Facebook following controversial statements made by Smotrich and his wife, Revital, that April.

At the time, Smotrich had spoken about being "disgusted" by Jewish women giving birth with Arab women in the room as midwives. Later, in an interview with the now-defunct Channel 10, Revital revealed that she was careful not to be in the same room as an Arab woman.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're enemies," she said at the time.

Smotrich himself would later defend her remarks, saying on Twitter that his wife isn't a racist.

However, at the time, Gottlieb clearly disagreed and took to Facebook to voice her opinions.

"I don't want to give birth next to Smotrich's wife," she wrote, going on to insult both of the Smotrichs.

"Smotrich's wife requested that an Arab midwife not take care of her because 'birth is a sacred moment,' and God forbid some sliver of compassion and concern for others from an Arab midwife would stick to the newborn baby.

"Allow me to be disgusted, or rather ashamed."

She went on to compare the Smotrichs' ideas to Nazi racist ideology.

"Today, Smotrich wants to give birth alongside Jews, tomorrow she will want there to be Jews-only beaches, restaurants, resorts," she said. "Smotrich, you are welcome to read Hitler's book – you'll come up with more humiliating ideas."

Tali Gottlieb: Israel's newest controversial MK

Gottlieb is a controversial figure in her own right, having spoken out against listening to rulings by the High Court of Justice that nullify some of Israel's laws.

"The High Court needs to remember its place and needs to curb its power," Gottlieb told Ynet in early November. "When the court acts without authority, I don't respect it, I'm sorry. When the court, listen to me carefully, when the High Court annuls a law, it acts in blatant violation of its acquired authority in Section 2 of the Basic Law - The Judiciary."

In her line of work as a defense attorney, Gottlieb, who has said that "the word feminism disgusts [her]," became known for her work defending men accused of sexual crimes, claiming that the number of cases she oversaw was around 5,000.

She drew the ire of women and feminist movements for her comments regarding the "Me Too" movement, about which she said that, "if you bring out allegations against a celebrity who just started a new role, and there's no clear explanation as to why you suddenly remembered to do so now, I don't accept it. There's no reason for it not to be vindictive. A string of allegations doesn't impress me either."

Gottlieb has also spoken out against Tibi in the past, criticizing the idea that he could be made deputy Knesset speaker.

Shira Silkoff and Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.