A late night debate at the Knesset, about a bill to correct the Prisons code, focusing on the subject of “entering objects into prisons,” was instantaneously turned into a show of irrepressible laughter, to the point of tears, the likes of which has not been seen in the House for years.
Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron took the podium, with the full intent of discussing entering prohibited objects into prison under aggravated circumstances, a seemingly boring topic that makes the late night hour seem even later. But shortly after he began to speak, a few MKs from United Torah Judaism who were all on hand for some reason, cracked a joke—which took Piron by surprise and drove him to uncontrollable laughter. He just couldn’t go on with his comments.
Now, according to a Haredi journalist friend, all MK Gafni did was let out a kind of harrumph sound, making fun of Piron who was about to represent the Netanyahu government on an issue completely outside his field of expertise. He was, basically, saying “here comes the expert…” and that caught Piron off balance.
Peron—a former yeshiva dean—made several attempts to become serious, especially since the deputy speaker, MK Moshe Feiglin, asked everybody present to try and calm down, after all, it’s the Knesset, and people are watching (on Israel’s Channel 99, which is the local version of C-Span) – but the late hour and the fact that the MKs were really tired turned Piron’s desperate attempts to curb his own laughter into even bigger outbursts.
And MK Gafni and his MK buddies—who got Piron in trouble in the first place—continued to giggle and cover their faces with their hands. It was grade school revisited.
Finally, Piron gave up and asked to be replaced by his colleague, Welfare Minister Meir Cohen – who appeared to be struck by the same laughter virus as soon as he had taken the podium.
Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem took out her smartphone and documented the entire event, possibly planning to use the video as blackmail over future sensitive legislation. But we got our feed from Channel 99…
I’m enclosing the old Monty Python sketch about the lethal joke that brought down the German Army in WW2 – just for comparison. It’s been that kind of a day.