Peace activist protests Knesset bid by scholar who slapped him
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Peace activist protests Knesset bid by scholar who slapped him

Yariv Oppenheimer, who led Peace Now movement, says he will ask Telem Party to remove Mor Altshuler from its election slate over TV backstage altercation 8 years ago

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of Jewish mysticism scholar Mor Altshuler. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of Jewish mysticism scholar Mor Altshuler. (YouTube)

The former director of Israel’s Peace Now organization on Tuesday protested the inclusion of a scholar of Jewish mysticism on the Knesset slate of a recently formed party in the upcoming April 9 elections — because she slapped him in a TV studio eight years ago.

Mor Altshuler, a scholar of Hasidic Judaism, kabbalah, and Jewish messianism, signed up to run for parliament with ex-IDF chief and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem Party.

In response, Yariv Oppenheimer, who is also eyeing a parliamentary career and will participate in the upcoming primaries of the dovish Meretz party, said he will ask Ya’alon to change his mind on Altshuler due to their altercation eight years ago.

“It is my intention to approach Ya’alon and ask him to change his decision,” Oppenheimer said, according a report from the Maariv website. “A violent candidate who physically hurt me will not do. She has no place in the house of representatives.”

The smack dates back to 2011, when Altshuler and Oppenheimer were asked to participate in a Channel 1 televised debate.

Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer (photo credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)
Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)

As they were getting ready in the makeup room, Altshuler slapped Oppenheimer over an incident three years earlier, when Peace Now activists, posing as filmmakers, tried to dupe her into giving an on-camera interview, Hadashot news reported at the time.

Oppenheimer demanded that she not be allowed on air with him and also filed a police complaint. Altshuler later apologized for the incident but also said it was just a “symbolic” slap and that, given her small size compared to Oppenheimer, there was no danger of injury.

“She hit me hard in the face with a lot of force, without any reason or discussion,” Oppenheimer told Army Radio on Tuesday. “The trauma has stayed with me until today.”

Altshuler told the radio station the incident “was the only time I lost my composure. I apologized then, and I am apologizing now.”

Polls have shown little public interest in the center-right Telem Party, which is predicted to fail to clear the electoral threshold unless it merges with other political parties.

The left-wing Meretz Party, a veteran of the Knesset, is expected to win at least five seats.

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