Hareidi MKs Walk Out on Netanyahu Speech
MKs from United Torah Jewry called out and interfered with a speech by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he introduced his new government in the Knesset. As Netanyahu read off the names of his ministers, UTJ MKs got up and started yelling, with MK Yisrael Eichler telling Netanyahu that “Jews don't ban Jews” from the Knesset. Eichler was referring to demands by Yesh Atid that Netanyahu exclude hareidi parties as their price for joining the coalition.
The MKs then staged a walkout, returning only after Netanyahu had finished speaking and leftist opposition head Shelly Yachimovich, head of the Labor Party, began speaking. The MKs timed their exit from the room as Netanyahu read the name of Naftali Bennett from his list of government ministers.
In response to the protests, the new Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein, said that he would not tolerate that kind of behavior during the Prime Minister's speech, and planned to take punitive action against MKs who interfered with Netanyahu.
Speaking on behalf of UTJ in the Knesset session, MK Ya'akov Litzman said that he feared the worst from the new government. During a meeting of Yesh Atid earlier in the day, Yair Lapid said that his party would turn out to be the best friends the hareidi community had in the Knesset, that he saw it has his responsibility to offer them help in a variety of ways.
Commenting on Lapid's statement, Litzman said that hareidim should not forget that this was “the same Lapid who ran a campaign of incitement against them during the election campaign with public money. This is the same Lapid who said that he would not sit in a government with hareidim. This is the same Lapid who says he will 'take care' of the hareidi community. Here's a good example of how he will do so – compare it to a declaration by Ahmad Tibi that he will 'take care of the settlements' if he ever joins a government,” Litzman said.