Israeli officials tussle over “Nazi” jibe

Israeli officials came to blows in parliament when one likened the other to a Nazi.

Amnon De Hartuch, a Justice Ministry official who oversees state subsidies to various Israeli sectors, had a heated argument with United Torah Judaism lawmaker Yaacov Cohen in the Knesset on Tuesday.

Cohen assailed De Hartuch for his scrutiny of funding for Orthodox schools, saying: “The Germans destroyed our bodies, and you want to destroy our souls.” That prompted De Hartuch, himself Orthodox and the son of a Holocaust survivor, to slap the parliamentarian.

De Hartuch, who was questioned by police and may face assault charges, apologized to Cohen and the Knesset. But he said in his defense that he had long been unfairly excoriated by the religious press and believes that Nazi comparisons should be taboo in the Jewish state.

De Hartuch has taken a leave of absence at the urging of Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz. 

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