MK Ahmad Tibi
MK Ahmad TibiHadas Porush/Flash90

The Knesset Regulatory Committee headed by Likud MK Yoav Kish convened on Monday in order to discuss the appointments of temporary deputy Knesset speakers.

At the start of the committee's discussion, Kish noted that he had "not succeeded in reaching agreements with the opposition. I suggested increasing the number of deputy speakers from nine to eleven, with six from the coalition and five from the opposition, in order to enable all parties to have representation. But it appears that there is overriding opposition to anything we suggest. I appeal to the opposition parties and ask them to discuss this right now, here in the committee."

Responding, MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid) said, "We oppose the appointment of people whose views were correct two thousand years ago."

MK Galit Distal Atbarian (Likud) then interjected, telling Toporovsky that it was "deplorable that the left-wing bloc is using LGBT people against us. Don't you have anything to say about the fact that MK Walid Taha thinks that homos are depraved?" She then turned to Taha himself, asking him, "Are homos depraved?" to which Taha replied that it was not the subject of the current discussion.

"We are seeing the appointment of people with anti-liberal views," Toporovsky then continued, "and we're not prepared to be a part of that. The appointment of deputy Speakers is designed to enable the passage of laws such as a law permitting [Shas head Aryeh] Deri to serve as a minister, or a law enabling [Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel] Smotrich to appoint generals in the IDF. We will fight for the rule of law and we will not help the political system to give people unbridled powers. We will do everything we can to prevent the destruction of Israeli democracy."

Toporovsky then proposed appointing nine deputy Speakers, split five to four between the coalition and the opposition, with opposition MKs deciding whom to appoint from their side. "If there's no agreement, we'll have a vote," he said.

Kish replied, "I can see that the opposition has no intention of reaching agreements and so I suggest that the coalition make the call." Labor MK Efrat Reiten protested, saying, "Give us a chance to reach an agreement and make a different decision. It's clear what you're trying to do - you want to divide and conquer. But the coalition shouldn't be making decisions for the opposition on who its representatives will be."

"We gave you a week to make up your minds," Kish responded. "And you didn't reach any agreement whatsoever. We're suggesting 7:6 or some other agreement that we can reach."

The committee then took a break and when members returned afterward, tempers were stormy, and acting committee chair MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud) removed MKs Reiten and Ronen Katz from the meeting.

Turning to MK Toporovsky and the other MKs from Yesh Atid, MK Ahmad Tibi then said, "My answer to you is, 'Go to hell.' Be a little bit more modest when you address us. I don't take orders from you. You can go and look for other Arabs [if that's what you want]. You want Arabs who will work for you - you, who kill Palestinians every single day, you in this 'government of change.'"