Reuven Rivlin
Reuven RivlinMark Neiman/GPO

Controversial Likud lawmaker Oren Hazan said President Rivlin "has gone nuts" after Rivlin criticized him earlier for remarks demeaning an Ethiopian MK as a "pet immigrant".

"Ruby [Rivlin] has gone nuts," said Hazan. "After forgetting the home where he came from and the Likud movement, here comes Ruby Rivlin's show of hypocrisy."

Hazan charged that "instead of choosing to condemn the lecturer who humiliated a soldier at the Hebrew University and support IDF soldiers, he chooses to deal with lies, slander and fake news".

The legislator was referring to a lecturer at Hebrew University that was documented earlier this week yelling at an IDF soldier who arrived to class in uniform.

"If you thought that you [would use me] to blur your ruinous behavior and cause the public to forget your support for assimilation and turning your back on Elior Azariah and IDF're wrong big time," said Hazan.

Hazan has long had an adversarial relationship with the president, even calling on Rivlin to resign after he refused to pardon IDF soldier Elor Azariah in 2017. Earlier on Thursday, Rivlin had apologized to Ethiopian-born Yesh Atid MK Penina Tamanu-Shata after Hazan called her "a pet immigrant" during a Knesset debate last week.

"Pnina is an excellent member of Knesset. I'm warning against verbal, behavioral and sectoral violence," said Rivlin. "I simply want to apologize on behalf of all of us. I regret that there are citizens in the State of Israel who could do something like this to us."