An eruption of parliamentary mud-slinging may have aborted an experiment in televising sessions of a Knesset committee.
Two members at opposite ends of the political spectrum hurled distinctly unparliamentary language at each other last week as television cameras recorded a session of the House Committee on a trial basis.
Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss attributed the outbursts to the presence of television and said there was no “no chance whatever” he would allow the electronic media back.
In a vituperative exchange, a member of the far-left Hadash list called the leader of the far-right Moledet faction a “murderer.”
Rehavam Ze’evi responded by calling Tawfik Ziad an “accomplice to murderers.”
It got no better when the two were interviewed on army radio in what was billed as an attempt to patch up the spat.
Ze’evi called Ziad a “liar” and the Hadash parliamentarian labeled his interlocutor “a sickening piece of humanity.”
The Hadash member made apparent reference to periodic media reports linking the Moledet leader to underworld figures and offered to pay for a lie-detector test that would show whether Ze’evi had committed “murder with your own hands.”
The Moledet member backed up his own accusations by recalling the long alliance between Hadash and Soviet communism.
“Stalin, the murderer of 50 million people, was your sun,” he tossed to Ziad as interviewer Rafi Reshef tried fruitlessly to defuse the quarrel.
Weiss urged the public to remember that Parliament comprises 120 members. “These two do not represent the whole,” he said.
Ze’evi and Ziad face parliamentary penalties for their behavior in committee and probable suspension from a set number of plenary sessions.