The Knesset Ethics Committee on Tuesday discussed a complaint filed by Yitzhak Yaakov, an Israeli citizen, against MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), who serves as Deputy Minister of Education. During a debate in the plenum held last February regarding a government decision to set aside an area near Jerusalem’s Western Wall for non-Orthodox prayer, Porush spoke on behalf of his faction (not the government) and accused the Reform movement, which supports the “Women of the Wall” prayer group, of being responsible for the “terrible intermarriage rate that we’ve been witnessing in the United States.”
Addressing the location of the new prayer area, near the Old City’s Dung Gate, Porush said the place of the Women of the Wall is in an “out-of-the-way corner. That’s where you belong. [They] should be thrown to the dogs.”
The complaint said these were humiliating remarks, which would be criticized harshly if they were spoken by any foreign parliamentarian against the Jews. Porush referred to the complaint made against him, and stated that if “Women of the Wall” would refrain from eating non-Kosher food, he would apologize to them.
The committee, headed by MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), decided that Porush’s remarks against ”Women of the Wall” deviated radically from the acceptable manner in which Knesset Members may express themselves. The committee mentioned that it is legitimate to express views against the group and the government’s decision on the matter, but it is improper to use such harsh language.
The Ethics Committee further determined that Porush violated the Ethics Code regarding the honor of the Knesset and its members and decided to reprimand Porush, stating that this was the first time during the current Knesset in which it was required to address an issue related to him.