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Coalition whip fires back at Haredi lawmaker after he calls her ‘a little girl’

United Torah Judaism lawmaker Meir Porush puts down Yamina MK Idit Silman, saying she was ‘acting like a little girl’ as she chaired the powerful Knesset Arrangements Committee

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Idit Silman, head of the Arrangements Committee, leads a Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Idit Silman, head of the Arrangements Committee, leads a Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yamina MK Idit Silman, the chair of the Knesset Arrangements Committee, fired back at United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush on Monday after he called her “a little girl.”

“Don’t call me a little girl, I’m not a little girl,” Silman told Porush during a heated meeting of the committee Monday morning.

Porush was angrily reacting to Silman’s decision not to allow him to speak during the committee hearing. She countered that she was allowing everyone to speak in the order they requested permission.

“You’re acting like a little girl, you’re not fit to call me to order,” Porush shouted at Silman. “You’re lying, you’re not treating me with respect.”

Silman told Channel 12 News on Monday afternoon that she was not that surprised by Porush’s behavior, since such comments have become rife in the Knesset in the past few weeks.

Still, she added, “I don’t think it is appropriate for the Knesset, and I think we should respect the institution and speak in an appropriate manner there.”

Yisrael Beytenu MK Yulia Malinovsky slammed Porush’s comments.

“MK Meir Porush calling coalition chair Idit Silman a little girl is chauvinistic and demeaning speech that has no place in the public discourse,” Malinovsky tweeted. “This speech proves how much we need a change in our worldview and behavior. It seems that the members of Knesset in the opposition have not come to terms with the fact that they are no longer in power, if this is how they allow themselves to speak.”

MK Meir Porush attends the Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting in Jerusalem, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The powerful Knesset Arrangements Committee deals with procedural issues and setting up other key parliamentary panels. The committee narrowly voted 17-16 on Monday not to consider several proposals from opposition members.

The move angered many opposition MKs on the committee, who accused Silman of trying to silence them.

“This government has castrated the Knesset for a full month, preventing legislation for a month and then another week for the president’s inauguration, and then a recess,” charged Shas MK Yaakov Margi. He called on his fellow opposition lawmakers to ignore Silman’s instructions and “say whatever is on your mind. We will make a filibuster — that’s our job and that’s our duty.”

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