An argument broke out in the Knesset Monday evening between an ultra-Orthodox lawmaker and a Yesh Atid MK in which the former called the latter “a Jewboy who tattles on his fellow Jews” and described another Yesh Atid party member as a “murderer.”
The argument broke out over a demand by MK Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism), the ultra-Orthodox lawmaker, to establish a parliamentary inquiry committee that would examine the use of state’s witnesses against politicians. The demand came after claims by a state’s witness that he had given a false testimony about a former minister that led to the minister’s conviction for bribery, breach of trust and other offenses.
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) responded to Eichler’s demand by berating him from the podium. “Eichler doesn’t exactly love Jews and doesn’t exactly love the State of Israel. He doesn’t believe in a lot of the institutions of the State of Israel. He thinks that he decides who is a Jew, who is religious and what type of kippa [skullcap] everyone ought to wear,” Stern said, adding, “Maybe one day he will repent and understand that there is also manners and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Eichler, in turn, bluntly attacked Stern. “Elazar Stern reminds me of the Jewboy who informs and tattles, who works for the ruler against his Jewish brethren. No secular person would dare battle with such hatred and hostility against the hesder yeshivas, the Chief Rabbinate and religious Zionism. We can’t expect loyalty to the Jewish people from someone who betrays the heritage of his ancestors.”
He continued, “MK Stern in particular, and his colleagues who delegitimize and incite against ultra-Orthodox children day after day, are preparing public opinion for a war between Jews. Only MK Stern and his ilk are the ones that will destroy the Jewish state with a civil war.”
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MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), a former Jerusalem Police commander, called out to Eichler that he was an “inciter to evil.” Eichler, in response, called Levy a “murderer.” Eichler later asked to apologize for using the word “murderer” but did not retract any of his other statements.
The Hebrew term Eichler used in his attack against Stern was “Yehudon,” which translates to “Jewboy,” a term that was imported to America at the end of the 18th century from London. Over the course of the next two centuries, the deragatory word would join the ranks of other anti-Semitic slurs such as kike, sheeny and others.
This is not the first time Eichler has made headlines with his inflammatory statements. In February 2016, he compared Reform Jews to the mentally ill in a tirade against the Reform Movement and the High Court of Justice over the latter’s decision to allow people who did not convert through the state-sanctioned, Orthodox system to immerse in public ritual baths.
“Not every mentally ill person can come to the operating room and decide the rules of medicine and force the hospital to have an operation by whatever way works,” Eichler said.
In December 2017, Eichler attacked American Jews, saying that millions of them assimilated because they were “cut off” from their religion as a result of being "forced" to work on the Shabbat after emigrating to the U.S. Eichler went even further a few weeks later, comparing the assimilation of American Jews to a “quiet Holocaust.” The lawmaker added that "not a trace of American Jews will be left because of work on Shabbat."