'I thought democracy included me too, I was wrong'

MK's wife returns fire over media backlash, after she called for separate pregnancy wards for Jewish and Arab women.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Betzalel Smotrich
Betzalel Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Revital Smotrich, the wife of MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), issued an open letter on Friday morning following the backlash she and her husband have received for calling for Jewish and Arab women to have the option of separate pregnancy wards at hospitals.

On Tuesday Smotrich said separate rooms should be an option while noting on noisy Arab post-birth parties. Later the same day he slammed Channel 10 for recording an "interview" with his wife Revital without her knowledge.

In her recorded comments, Revital Smotrich said she in the past asked an Arab doctor to leave the delivery room during her birthing, adding, “I am not comfortable staying in the same room as an Arab woman. The way I see it, we are enemies. I was never refused. It seems to me that it is a very natural and clear-cut request."

Smotrich defended his wife from the media backlash, saying that many Jewish women including his own wife "wouldn’t want to lie down (in a bed) next to a woman who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby twenty years from now." In response his party chairperson Education Minister Naftali Bennett condemned him and rejected the idea of "hating Arabs."

Revital Smotrich on Friday released an open letter, in which she addressed the controversy.

"I was wrong," she began. "I was wrong when I thought you could say out loud what you think. I was wrong when I thought that the nation of Israel, which bears the flag of democracy, was able to include me too. I was wrong because I was too naive, and I thought that (journalist) Rafi Reshef, whose voice I grew up hearing, called just because he was interested how I was doing."

Taking aim at the backlash, she continued, "maybe I was also wrong when I thought that I could think differently, after my brother was wounded in a terror attack next to Kfar Darom, our good friends Menashe and Racheli Gavish lost four of their family members when a terrorist entered their house, our neighbors lost their cousins - members of the Fogel family, and my dear husband lost his good friend Shuli Har-Melekh...and the list unfortunately goes on..."

"I thought that after all that, I was allowed to give birth to new life when around me there aren't any people who remind me of death, and that isn't my fault."

"I was not wrong"

The MK's wife said, "there are those who would say I also was wrong when I chose to live in Kedumim, to suffer from the mass protests of the Arab residents of Kadum every Friday and Shabbat, to get up in the night for scared children who dream about terrorists coming into the house, to wait for my husband the MK who works around the clock, and to worry when he drives in the middle of the night through Arab villages."

"Maybe that's what caused me not to love those who don't really love me and try to disturb the routine of my life."

Smotrich took aim at the leftist protesters who demonstrated in front of her house on Wednesday, saying sarcastically, "maybe they could have arranged an apartment for me in Tel Aviv, where there are no Arabs and racists."

"I was wrong when I thought that it wasn't just clear to me that the Israeli Arabs completely identify with all that is connected to the 'Palestinian nation,' and the one who stands at their head leads both groups (i.e. those with and without Israeli citizenship - ed.) together and encourages the attacks against us."

She also criticized the press, saying she had expected to find journalists on the political right who would defend her, and "even if it was hard for them to say the truth out loud, would at least not be part of the angry mob."

Sarcastically she added, "and I was wrong when I remembered a history lesson from school where we learned that the Jews didn't try to harm the Germans and didn't even try to occupy Germany, apparently I didn't remember right, correct me if I'm wrong but please don't compare my husband to a Nazi."

Slamming the "flock of hypocrites who try to distort the war being waged here for 100 years already," she continued, "mostly I was wrong because I didn't know what the media could do to a little person like me."

"Just so as to be precise, I imagine that you were expecting more apologies...but no. I was not wrong, I still think what I said. We still are fighting, and sacrificing ourselves for our right and existence in this land, and if there is a place where I can forget about that, it's in the birthing room."