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Michal Ish Shalom

While those lucky MKs who made it on to the party lists are busy jockeying for position in the upcoming 19th Knesset, Israelis still a heimishe country and its parliament is no different. So what really goes on in those hallowed halls, beyond the security guards and past the expansive paved square leading to the austere edifice?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The 18th Knesset might have been characterized by countless funny, scandalous, or even shameful incidents, but the event that wins first place on the lack-of-decorum scale took place last January when Arab MK Raleb Majadele was participating in a meeting of the Education Committee and complained about a call to fire a school principal from Arara who had taken his students to a human rights march through Tel Aviv.

“You were marching against the state,” Yisrael Beiteinu MK Anastassia Michaeli interrupted accusingly.

“You be quiet!” Majadele replied, igniting her fury.

“You shut up!” she snapped back, and they began a vicious verbal spat. Michaeli is no pushover, however — and the Russian engineer and fashion model-turned-Orthodox Jewish convert and mother of eight was going to make sure she had the last word.

Majadele asked the committee chairman to intervene and discipline Michaeli, who rose from her seat and seemed to be about to stalk out of the room.

But then the cameras recorded a moment that made Michaeli a hero for some, an embarrassment for others: Michaeli came back, took a full cup of water … and poured it over Majadele’s head.

Michaeli’s punishment: She was banned from the Knesset for a month. For comparison’s sake, MK Hanin Zoabi, who participated in the Mavi Marmara enemy flotilla, was distanced from the Knesset for just two weeks (although she did have some parliamentary privileges revoked).


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