Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night offered a bizarre response to a greeting from Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, in front of the cameras at the News 13 studio.
Regev, who had entered the set while Liberman was getting up to leave, greeted the former defense minister, “Shavua tov” (a good week, the traditional Saturday night greeting), and his angry response, seemingly out of the blue, was: “I say Shavua tov only to human beings.”
Regev later commented on Liberman’s insult, saying: “I was shocked by Liberman’s blatant, offensive and humiliating reaction to me during a live broadcast. […] I met him tonight in the studio, gave him a greeting for a good week and he replied: ‘I say Shavua tov only to human beings.'”
“Such a chauvinistic and misogynistic statement has no place in the discourse between men and women, it has no place at all,” Regev protested, for some reason attributing Liberman’s insult to her being a woman. It’s quite clear it wasn’t chauvinistic nor misogynistic – he really doesn’t think she is a human being.
Last October, Liberman called Regev “beheimah” (barnyard animal) in an interview with Maariv: “An intellectual like [Russian Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader and founder of Israel’s rightwing movement Ze’ev] Jabotinsky, had he listened to Mirror Regev for one minute when she boasts of never having held a book by [Russian playwright and short-story writer Anton] Chekhov, he would have plotzed (burst). She’s an insult to the People of the Book. That’s what happens when you take a barnyard animal and put her in the culture ministry.”
When Liberman was asked on the same occasion if he wished to apologize in advance of the scandal his insults would likely cause, he replied: “I sincerely apologize to the barnyard animals.”
The deeply wounded Miri Regev responded Saturday night: “You can disagree, you can criticize, but no one has the right to behave this way. Lieberman has no respect, no basic human dignity, and I have nothing left to do but condemn such behavior. Woe unto us if this is the man who wants to bring unity to the people of Israel…”
Of course, Miri Regev served as the IDF Spokesperson during the uprooting of some 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, lending her voice to a ruthless attack of the Ariel Sharon government on innocent Jewish settlers. She was equally ruthless in her attacks on illegal African workers, whom she called “a cancer in the nation’s body,” which would have been acceptable as heated political slogans go, except for the fact that Regev has been accused of taking campaign contributions from two different manpower agencies importing workers from abroad.