Pnina Tamano-Shata
Pnina Tamano-ShataHaim Twito

Outgoing Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White) accused incoming Finance Minister MK Bezalel Smotrich of “white privilege” as she criticized the new Netanyahu government.

Tamano-Shata, an Ethiopian-born immigrant brought to Israel at the age of three, excoriated religious lawmakers over plans to push for a religious exemption to anti-discrimination laws.

Supporters say the proposal, which was drawn up after a religious print-shop owner in Beersheba was fined for refusing to print flyers for a gay parade, would enshrine basic religious liberties into the law.

But comments regarding the proposal have drawn criticism both from inside and outside of the new coalition, including from Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.

On Monday, Tamano-Shata condemned plans to amend anti-discrimination legislation, tweeting: “I heard that in France there is a doctor who, because of his beliefs, does not want to treat Jews because they murdered Jesus. I’ve heard that there are doctors who don’t want to treat haredim because they are atheists and they do not believe in God.”

“I understand that there is a nurse who does not want to help Ethiopian women give birth because they came down from trees, and they aren’t even Jewish. In other words, they’re bullies!”

“Being right-wing doesn’t mean you are racist.”

A day later, during an interview with Radio 103FM, Tamano-Shata launched into a tirade against the religious Right over the proposed amendment, accusing the sponsor of “white male privilege.”

“The attempted to launch a legislative blitz which mainly hurts the fight against discrimination is beyond my understanding. This is totally cut off from the communities that are harmed, whether it is the LGBT community, new immigrants, Ethiopians.”

“I’m not shocked that Smotrich, who is a privileged white male who never experience racism first-hand, thinks that he can put into the coalition agreement a major amendment.”