Uproar in the Knesset: 'Liar, beast'

Meretz MK screams at Internal Security Minister during Knesset deliberations. 'Your job is to fight crime, not the Arab public.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Issawi Frej
MK Issawi Frej
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Knesset plenum rejected the proposal of MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate alleged police brutality during Arab protests in Haifa over the weekend.

During the deliberations, an uproar broke out in the plenum when MK Frej quoted a police officer who used crude language. Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan responded by saying: "You can be a beast from the stage."

MK Frej replied: "If I am an animal, you lead a herd of animals. You are only busy with how to promote lies. Instead of protecting the public you fight them, your job is to fight crime, not the Arab public. You say I beast? Look at yourself in the mirror. You liar. You invented the lie. You are a poor minister."

"The State Comptroller's report said that there is a structural and systemic failure by the police and the Department for the Investigation of Police, and that there is a dramatic drop in the number of charges [against police who abuse their power]. The dangerous policy that you are leading will reach each of us. It stinks and permeates all other problems. Once there is racism, violence is legitimized. The nationality law is beginning to seep in," Frej added.

Internal Security Minister Erdan said afterwards: "A Knesset member who uses words so crude and contemptuous of parliament takes into account that this is what he wants to provoke."

"Regarding the demonstrations, some of them did not apply for a permit, and the police did not receive any preliminary information about the intention to block roads. The police told me that during some of the demonstrations, a large number of demonstrators rioted, blocked main traffic arteries, shouted abuse and even used violence, causing damage to private property and endangering human life. The violent behavior of the demonstrators was documented. Several demonstrators were arrested and the police are currently working with the State Prosecutor's Office to formulate indictments.

"The Israel Police is primarily responsible for public safety and security. While, of course, freedom of speech and protest must be guaranteed, even if it is in support of a terrorist organization, these rights must be balanced with the public interest and ensure that in the name of the right to demonstrate, no other protected rights to security of life and property are infringed.

According to Erdan, "This is no reason to lash out at all the work of the Israel Police, so I do not understand how MK Frej says on the one hand that he is not biased, and on the other hand reads a headline from the newspaper of one policeman and that is what reflects the Israel Police."