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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Minister Piron Brought Down by ‘Lethal Joke’

It was grade school revisited.
Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) laughing uncontrollably.

Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) laughing uncontrollably.

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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.



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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “Minister Piron Brought Down by ‘Lethal Joke’”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This was probably unifying, since it was totally harmless and crossed party lines, and probably made everyone feel a bit foolish. First they all went to Tzippy Hotovely's wedding, and then this. Maybe it'll all lead to them working together (for a change) for the good of Israel.

  2. Gil Gilman says:

    I would like to have commented on this, but I died laughing.

  3. Grace Acosta says:

    I love this. I never trust a government that can't laugh, especially at itself!

  4. Keith David Reitman says:

    It does appear, from the video, that the Knesset grave yard shift attendees consist solely of Orthodox grey beards, and one woman.

  5. Yori Yanover says:

    It was a technical detail session, and only the Orthodox can read small print.

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