Gantz, Lapid call on Netanyahu to demote Likud MK who compared protesters to Hamas

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Deputy Speaker Likud MK Nissim Vaturi at the plenum hall of the Knesset, on June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Deputy Speaker Likud MK Nissim Vaturi at the plenum hall of the Knesset, on June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Unity chairman Benny Gantz and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid both slam Likud MK Nissim Vaturi and call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove him from his position as deputy Knesset speaker after he referred to anti-government protesters as a “branch of Hamas.”

“The deputy speaker of the Knesset proved again this morning that he has no understanding or respect for democracy,” Gantz tweets, calling Vaturi’s rhetoric “reprehensible.”

“I call on the prime minister to remove him from his position, and to replace him with a dignified figure who will respect the State of Israel and the legislature,” he insists, adding that failure to do so constitutes agreement with Vaturi’s statement.

Lapid echoes the call, saying that “the demonstrators are IDF soldiers and officers, they are the Israeli economy, they are teachers and doctors, they are Zionism in its embodiment.

“Nissim Vaturi, on the other hand, is a man full of hatred whose inflammatory words are used by Israel’s enemies in a lawsuit in The Hague. Likud should have fired him this morning from the position of deputy speaker of the Knesset,” he says. But “they won’t do it, because this government has decided to dismantle the State of Israel. Vaturi is just the symptom.”

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