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Mk Suspended from Five Sessions of Knesset for Creating Disorder

January 4, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Knesset House Committee ordered MK Charlie Biton suspended for five consecutive sessions, the maximum penalty allowed under Knesset rules for creating a disorder in the chamber. Biton, a member of the Democratic list for Peace and Equality (Communists), created on uproar last week when he chained himself to the microphone on the speaker’s podium during a debate on Soviet Jewry.

Biton was only the second MK in the 30 year history of the Knesset to be penalized for disruption The first was Menachem Begin who, in 1952, refused to leave the speaker’s stand during a debate on German reparations which, as leader of Herut, he vigorously opposed. During that episode, Begin’s supporters outside the Knesset hurled stones at the building.

Opposition members of the House Committee argued that Biton’s violation could not be compared to Begin’s behavior 27 years ago. Moreover, they said, Herut militant Geula Cohen often created much more turmoil in the Knesset but never got more than a reprimand. The majority prevailed, however, noting that Biton had to be penalized not simply for chaining himself to the podium but for smuggling the chains into the chamber, for throwing eggs and tomatoes at the speaker’s stand several weeks ago and, at another time, bringing a tape recorder to the Knesset without permission.

Biton, a former leader of the Black Panthers, said the chaining incident was to protest the condition of prison inmates in Israel. He maintained that was more important than the problem of Jewish prisoners in the Soviet Union. He said that if his appeal against the penalty was unsuccessful he would use his time visiting slum neighborhoods.

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