NGO: 'Parasites' comment incites against haredim

Ometz calls for Knesset Ethics Committee to censure Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy.

Mickey Levy 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
Mickey Levy 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
The Knesset Ethics Committee must censure Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy for calling the ultra-Orthodox parasites, good-governance NGO Ometz said on Thursday.
Ometz director Arye Avneri filed a complaint against Levy to Ethics Committee chairman Yitzhak Cohen (Shas), saying Levy violated the ethics guideline requiring him to protect the Knesset’s dignity and behave in an appropriate manner as its member.
“This is a serious and unfortunate expression that does not respect the Knesset and is not appropriate for Levy to use, as an MK,” the petition reads.
“The expression used against the haredi public has been used against nations without countries, such as Jews and Romani, who were called ‘parasitic races.’”
 According to Avneri, Levy’s word choice “borders on incitement against the entire haredi public, and they must be taken seriously and criticized.”
On Wednesday, Levy said in an interview with haredi radio station Kol Barama that haredim must work, adding: “It’s not possible [for them] to be parasites on the Israeli public any longer.”
Soon after, Levy added: “I apologize for the word, I’m just saying that it’s not possible to live on the backs of the Israeli taxpayer, of those who pay taxes, those who go to the army, those who serve the state. You are citizens with equal rights, so come be equal in obligations too.”
Levy later repeated his apology in the Knesset plenum.
Avneri wrote in his complaint that he was aware of Levy’s apology, but pointed out that it came only after the interviewer told him he should.