The Knesset's Interior Committee held a debate Tuesday about the anti-assimilation group Lehava, which is headed by Bentzi Gopshtain. The session was held at the behest of leftists MKs who want Lehava outlawed.
However, the leftists refused to allow Gopshtain to speak in his own defense at the session. When they found out Monday that Gopshtain was invited, MK Xenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) fired off a letter to the Knesset Speaker, demanding that he be barred from entering.
The session was run by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), who filled in for the committee's regular chairman, MK David Amsalem (Likud). Smotrich insisted that Gopshtain be allowed to speak, despite the leftists' protestations.
A melee erupted when Gopshtain began to speak, at the end of which leftist MKs including Michal Rozin and Isawi Frej of Meretz, as well as Yoel Hasson and Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union, were thrown out of the session. Others left of their own accord.
Police representatives who had been summoned to attend also left the room.
Frej had to be restrained with force as he tried to break away from the Knesset guard and seemed to be violently angry.
MK Shmuli called out to Gopshtain: "You are ISIS with a kippah. You do not represent any Judaism or morality." Not to be outdone, MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) called him: "The juice of the garbage. You are the foreskin of the Jewish KKK… You are the Zionist nightmare. You are the agenda of death."
MK Hasson told Gopshtain: "I just returned from Berlin. We met MPs who are now beating themselves up over things that are not very different from what you lead."
MK Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint List) said: "You are a Nazi. What do you care who marries whom? You are a Nazi racist."
"Gopshtain finally spoke and said: "There are Knesset Members here who are trying to prevent me from speaking. If they are leaving because of me I am glad, and I hope that in the future, I will be in the Knesset and they will leave it. There are MKs here who support terror attacks against IDF soldiers and they speak against me."
"I am sure MK Hasson doesn’t want his daughter to go out with an Arab," he added. "This is not racism. It is Judaism."
A representative of the State Attorney's Office said that the office would not take part in the debate and that it had agreed to participate before being told Gopshtain would attend. MK Smotrich expressed his amazement at the statement and inquired: "What did you think, that he would watch the session on TV from his home?"