Likud MK: I said to trample Leftists, not jail them

The Knesset Ethics Committee fell apart before complaints were filed alleging that MK David Amsalem (Likud) called to imprison left-wingers.

 Likud MK David Amsalem being escorted out of the Knesset plenum on October 4, 2021. (photo credit: NOAM MOSKOVICH)
Likud MK David Amsalem being escorted out of the Knesset plenum on October 4, 2021.
(photo credit: NOAM MOSKOVICH)

A woman in Rosh Pina filed a police complaint against Likud MK David Amsalem on Saturday and politicians and political activists filed complaints against him to the Knesset Ethics Committee, following media reports that he called for jailing Leftists.

When Shabbat ended, Amsalem released a statement mocking the media for falsely reporting what he said during a Twitter Space discussion that was open to the public.  

"From the recording, it is clear that I did not say to jail leftists in cages," he said. "What I did say - and I won't apologize for it - is that just like the Left is trampling us now in Knesset committees, we will trample them when we come back to power."  

According to the recording, more than an hour and a half into the discussion, Amsalem said of the power of ministries' attorney-generals: "They are wolves who devour anything that moves, and if we don't restrain them and put them in a pen, they will ultimately eat us again and then our country will sink to the depths. There will not be a Jewish state." 

Amsalem repeatedly referred to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. He suggested forming a separate Knesset led by Likud.

Government-Knesset Liaison Dudi Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and criticized MK Mickey Levy for proposing the amendment, November 4, 2020. (credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)Government-Knesset Liaison Dudi Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and criticized MK Mickey Levy for proposing the amendment, November 4, 2020. (credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)

"A crazy, Bolshevik, anti-Zionist gang has taken over the country," he said angrily during the discussion, which was recorded and shared widely on social media and in the Israeli media. "Prime Minister Netanyahu is an emissary from God. He is the most important Jewish leader in 100-150 years."

He then said the people will vote for the Likud, which will win the next elections, and that once they are in power, they will carry out drastic changes. The first that he mentioned was that any official who opposes the government will have their salary cut. 

Amsalem also claimed that if he becomes speaker of the Knesset, he will not let the members of the current coalition enter the plenum. "They can go to their High Court. We'll also replace the judges there immediately, on the day we win." 

Referring to former Likud prime minister Menachem Begin's deferential statement about the Supreme Court, he said. "This story of Begin saying 'There are judges in Jerusalem,' is over. We will run them over."

"We will bring about laws that they will not recover from for 20 years," he said. "In order to control, we will delete the word 'justice.' It doesn't exist anymore." 

He said leftists are "he richest and wealthiest in the country" and claimed that the Arab Knesset members believe that Jews are stupid and say that they take Jews' money. 

"The Arabs walk around the Knesset as state administrators and say: The Jews are stupid, we also take their money and they also build cities for us," he said. "The Arabs pay no property taxes, no electricity and no water - and build in violation of the law. Thousands of huts - the entire Negev is theirs."

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar complained that Netanyahu had not condemned the remarks of his party's MK. Sa'ar said Amsalem was speaking for Netanyahu. 

Michal Rozin of Meretz filed the first complaint to the Ethics Committee, warning that his words would lead to "incitement and real violence."

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy tried last week to form the Ethics Committee, despite a boycott of Knesset committees by the opposition. The committee has traditionally included two MKs from the coalition and two from the opposition, and it cannot function with no opposition MKs. 

Levy appointed MKs Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Yaakov Margi (Shas) to the committee and MK Osama Saadi (Joint List) as an alternate. But Gamliel and Margi quit immediately and Saadi joined them on Saturday, making it unlikely that the committee will get off the ground. 

"I dont want to be a political tool in the struggle between the coalition and the opposition," Saadi said.