Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak compared the Israeli government to Nazi Germany during the debate on the first reading of the first part of the coalition's planned judicial reforms Monday evening.
"This is a sad day. You may not be aware of what is happening, but we are increasingly divided. The State of Israel is being lost, we are in chaos. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets, and they are telling you to stop this insane legislation. You think we will be ready to live in your dictatorship, that we don't understand that this is just the first step to things which are much worse? We will not allow this to happen, this is an illegal move and we will oppose it," Ben Barak said.
"We will not allow you to destroy what we have built for the last 75 years. What you are doing is worse than all the regimes we do not want to be like - the Turks, the Hungarians and the Poles. In Germany, as well, the Nazis came to power democratically. We are not Hungarians or Poles and we will not agree to this," he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted with fury to Ben Barak's words. "The opposition has gone off the rails: Ram Ben Barak shamefully and scandalously compares the Israeli government to the Nazis. The protest leaders tried to imprison coalition members in their homes. Members of the opposition disrespected the Israeli flag in the Knesset plenum. The opposition has gone off the rails - but we will carry on."
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded that Yesh Atid chairman and Opposition leader Yair Lapid condemn what Ben Barak said.
"All red lines were crossed. It started with the blocking of the houses of MKs and ministers, moved to anarchy and roadblocks, and now Ram Ben Barak is comparing the members of the government to Nazis. I demand that Yair Lapid immediately condemn this serious and shameful comparison," Ben-Gvir said.
Today's vote is on a key part of the government's planned judicial reforms. The bill the Knesset is currently debating would dramatically increase the power of the Knesset and government in the judicial selection committee, which currently has a 5-to-4 majority of unelected officials, including judges and members of the Israel Bar Association.
The bill, if passed, would also explicitly prevent the Supreme Court from overruling amendments to Israel’s Basic Laws, which function as Israel's de-facto constitution in the absence of a written constitution.
During the debate Monday, members of the opposition waved and draped themselves Israeli flags in the plenary. Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (Likud) ordered them removed from the plenum immediately.
On Monday morning, anti-reform protestors attempted to prevent four MKs and ministers from leaving their homes so they could come to the Knesset for the vote.
In a move which drew widespread condemnation, protesters from the Block the Revolution organization surrounded the apartment of MK Tally Gotliv (Likud) in Givat Shmuel, linking arms to block her from exiting. Police were called to the scene, ordering the demonstrators to disperse. MK Gotliv has a daughter with special needs who was also prevented from leaving her home to go to school.
Demonstrators also surrounded the Ashkelon home of Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter and the Ramat Gan home of Education Minister Yoav Kisch, both of the Likud party.