The Meretz party’s Kati Piasecki will soon become a member of the Knesset. She will replace Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi who was appointed Israel’s new consular general in Shanghai.
Piasecki, however, could prove to be a problem for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his coalition government considering the harsh words that she has had for him personally over the years.
The 37 year old Piasecki currently serves as a member of the Bat Yam city council on behalf of Meretz. She has taken what some have described as an extreme left-wing position on a number of issues which will be sure to set her at odds with the coalition’s right-wing parties such as the Prime Ministers Yamina Party and Yisrael Beiteinu.
Her ascension to the Knesset comes as Yisrael Beiteinu’s Eli Avidar resigned his cabinet position and will now return to serving as a member of the Knesset in accordance with Israel’s “Norwegian Law.” This law, so called because it is based on the Norwegian political practice, allows a member of the Knesset who resigns his seat when assuming a cabinet post to reclaim that seat should he resign from the cabinet.
Avidar has been a vocal critic of the current coalition government calling Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Covid policies “hysterical.” He also claimed that Bennett will not honor the coalition’s rotation agreement and give over the premiership to Yair Lapid when the time comes. Returning to the Knesset puts Avidar in a very key political position.
In addition, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White Party holds 8 seats in the Knesset, is threatening not to have his faction vote for the bills proposed by the coalition for now due to what it says is the government’s failure to fulfill certain promises that were made regarding the military budget. Specifically, Gantz says that it is not doing enough to push through an increase in the pensions for IDF veterans.
And Bennett’s government cannot afford to have any defection at all.
The coalition stands on only the bare minimum majority of 61 seats. Its member parties combined have only 58 seats in the Knesset and so the government relies on the support of the Arab Ra’am party from the outside. This means that Ra’am votes with the coalition in exchange for certain fiscal and legislative considerations, but without having any cabinet seats.
On hearing that she will enter the Knesset Kati Piasecki tweeted, “If I knew this was going to happen today, I would be wearing high heels that respect the class. Looking forward to joining Meretz’s excellent faction in the Knesset.”
But her tweets in recent months have not been so positive and have often been highly critical of Naftali Bennett and his party. She once went so far as to call Bennett a “disaster for Israeli society.” Implying that he and his supporters are themselves racists, she also called for Israeli schools to do a better job educating children on Nazism and racism.
Journalist Avishai Grinzaig, who writes for Israel’s business daily newspaper Globes, has gone so far as to call on Twitter for a new challenge over her hostile Tweets. “Come on, join the challenge of uploading tweets and posts of the new coalition member from Meretz,” he tweeted.
Well, here are a few examples:
“If there’s one thing I will not forgive Bibi for, it is that he made me for a split second not dislike Naftali Bennett.” She said this after Bennett declined to join Netanyahu’s last government.
However, in 2019 after Bennett said that he would not rule out sitting in a national unity government led by Netanyahu, she asked of him in a Tweet, “What is the connection between you and a democratic state?” So she does not believe that Israel’s current prime minister believes in democracy.
This fits with a number of other things that she said about him over the years.
On Tuesday, right wing Otzma Yehudit Party leader Itamar Ben Gvir tweeted a picture of Piasecki kicking him when he protested against a gay pride parade last September. “According to some of the responses I get now,” he said, “it’s not her. Another part is willing to swear it is. I would love to receive clarifications from her and in any case, at least my message against violence in the Knesset has passed.”
In September she posted a similar picture herself from the same location which shows Ben Gvir apparently trying to kick her. She wrote then “Itamar Ben Gvir’s filth about the players of the football team can be confusing. I’m here to make an order:
There are those who kick the ball and fight on the field for all the citizens of the State of Israel, and there are those who kick, sometimes even physically, exactly the same citizens.”
She has also been known to repost Twitter posts that compare political campaign slogans from Israel’s right-wing parties with Nazi propaganda.
Opposition MKs like Ben Gvir may just come to appreciate having Kati Piasecki as a colleague should she prove to be a thorn in Naftali Bennett’s side and a cause for conflict within his coalition government.