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Opposition Leader Yachimovich Absent from Zeevi Memorial

Controversy in Knesset as the Labor Party leader shuns an annual memorial event for the murdered Minister Rehavam Zeevi.
By Adam Ross
First Publish: 10/23/2013, 4:09 PM

Knesset absence noted
Knesset absence noted
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Head of the Opposition Sheli Yachimovich was noticeably absent on Wednesday from a special meeting held in the memory of former Tourism Minster Rehavam Zevi.

Rehavam Zeevi was assassinated in 2001 by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Jerusalem's Hyatt Hotel at the peak of the Second Intifada.

According to Knesset protocol, official memorials require speeches to be made by the Prime Minister, Head of the Opposition and a representative of the coalition.

While the Prime Minister was unable to be present and was replaced by Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister MK Moshe Yaalon (Likud), and the coalition was represented by Head of the Foreign and Defense Committee MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beyteinu), Head of the opposition, Sheli Yachimovich, did not show up.

In place of the Labor party leader, surprisingly, was MK Nissim Zeev of the hareidi-religious Shas party.

A Knesset source explained that the left-wing parties had "refused to speak at a memorial for the right wing man [Ze'evi] who was murdered."

The source added that no representatives from the ultra-left wing Meretz party had been present at all except for a few minutes at the end of the memorial when MK Ilan Gilon entered the main auditorium where the memorial was taking place.

Deputy Head of the Knesset MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) rebuked Yachimovich saying Rehavam Zeevi was murdered "as a Minister of the Israeli government and not as a man of a particular political persuasion," adding that there was "no reason" to have boycotted the event.

There was no immediate response from the office of the Labor party leader.