Chaos in Knesset committee as far-right MKs yell at relatives of Hamas hostages

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen yells at Israelis whose family members are held hostage in Gaza, at the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen yells at Israelis whose family members are held hostage in Gaza, at the Knesset on November 20, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a furious altercation, MKs of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party yell at family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza after the latter speak out against Otzma Yehudit’s proposed death penalty for terrorists, in fear that such a law could have severe repercussions for their captive relatives.

“Stop talking about killing Arabs and start speaking about saving Jews,” shouts the relative of one of the hostages whose wife and daughter are being held captive, during a hearing of the Knesset National Security Committee, which is preparing the legislation.

“You have no monopoly over pain,” yells back Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen. “We have also buried more than 50 friends.”

“My friend is a hostage in Gaza, and by the way he’s never heard of you. Don’t talk about us wanting to kill Arabs. We didn’t go to kill them on that Shabbat [October 7]; they came to kill us,” he says.

Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har Melech yells at the hostages’ relatives: “You are silencing other families.” The hearing descends into chaos with all sides screaming at each other over the controversial legislation.

Earlier, committee chairman MK Tzvika Fogel of Otzma Yehudit said every Hamas terrorist “is an Eichmann,” in reference to the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann who was convicted in Israel of crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people, and hanged.

Fogel accuses anyone arguing against the legislation of “representing Hamas more than they represent the State of Israel.”

Asked by a family member of a hostage if he thinks the families are being used, Fogel says “I am hinting that Hamas is trying to exploit you, yes. And I’m not hinting. I’m saying it openly.”

Said Fogel: “We do not need to feed these beasts, we don’t need to continue to raise this monster… This [legislation] does not contradict the goal of bringing back the hostages. And anyone who tries to present it as a contradiction is someone who is trying to represent Hamas more than the State of Israel.”

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