Ya’alon decries ‘shameful’ behavior of MKs Bitan and Zohar

Stormy Knesset session sees Likud lawmakers yelling at families of slain soldiers.

Moshe Yaalon
The screaming match between two Likud Knesset members and bereaved parents on Wednesday was “shameful,” showcasing one of the growing internal challenges facing Israel, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said.
‘I’m glad to be here to talk to an audience which has experience in the areas which I will address, but I cannot begin to talk about the strategic challenges in the Middle East as well as the challenges to Israel’s security without commenting on the shameful event which took place in Israel’s Knesset yesterday, when politicians attacked bereaved parents,” Ya’alon told a packed audience at the Mediterranean Towers in Ganei Tikva, south of Petah Tikva, on Thursday.
Ya’alon, who was invited to discuss the challenges facing Israel in the Middle East, opened his remarks by addressing the shocking scene where families who had lost loved ones fighting during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 emotionally criticized the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Likud MKs David Bitan and Miki Zohar shouted back at them, with Bitan calling the father of Sgt. Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Ata – who was killed along with four comrades when Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel and attacked his pillbox near Kibbutz Nahal Oz – “a liar.”
“When I talk about the lack of leadership and the making of decisions based on whichever way the wind is blowing, and not according to a moral compass, I point to events of this sort. They come out of the radicalization of discourse, in an irresponsible manner that leads us to a moral low,” Ya’alon said.
“We have a discourse of polarization; I do not know whether social media are to blame, where one is not responsible for what one says, but the politicians are exploiting it [this behavior] to get more ‘likes.’ Explaining the complexity of what is happening in Gaza is not about getting ‘likes,’ and [such behavior reflects] the politicians’ lack of responsibility,” he added.
Addressing other challenges facing Israel, Ya’alon said that “there is corruption in many areas, such as the submarines [being bought from Germany], a former prime minister [Ehud Olmert] who is in jail, and the current prime minister who is under investigation. [Meeting] the internal challenges depends not on Hamas or ISIS, but on us, and there is a need for a leadership that acts according to a moral compass, and not a wind vane, and I believe that it is in our power [to do so].”