'There Were Other Holocausts'

As Knesset committee debates next week's appearance by the German chancellor, strong feelings rise to the surface.

Eldad will stand up and leave. Next Tuesday, when the German Chancellor Angela Merckel climbs to the podium to address the Knesset plenum in German, MK Arieh Eldad (National Union- National Religious Party) will stand up and leave the hall. MK Uri Ariel, who heads the faction, will not be in the country on that day, but said yesterday that "Were I here, I would leave."

In spite of the opposition, the Knesset House Committee decided yesterday that Merckel would address the plenum.

First sentence uttered will be in Hebrew. The formal question discussed by the committee yesterday had nothing to do with language. Every guest invited to address the plenum may choose the language he or she will use. On February 2, 2005, German President Horst Koehler spoke in the Knesset. He began with a sentence in Hebrew, but the rest was in German. Among the things he said was that "the victims of the Holocaust have assigned us the task of never again allowing genocide to occur." On May 30, 2007, the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, addressed the plenum in German and said that "whoever denies the Holocaust denies humanity." As such, there are some things that should be heard in German.

The invitations have already been sent. The main opponent to allowing Merckel to address the plenum was MK Arieh Eldad. "I cannot hear German in the Knesset plenum. This is the language in which my grandfather and grandmother were murdered," he said. He also pointed out that the whole discussion of the subject in the Knesset House Committee was moot, since the invitations went out Monday.

Eldad's party colleague MK Uri Ariel, described Germans as "Amalekites," whose male children should be killed, according to the Torah.

Don't forget the subs. The position of the coalition was expressed by MK David Tal (Kadima), who said that "Europe is tired of Israel. They are fed up with what goes on here." Therefore, he said, Israel needs to warmly welcome a friendly leader like Merckel. MKs also reminded the committee of the specially fitted submarines that are being built in Germany for Israel.

There were other Holocausts. But the prize goes to MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), former director general of the Ministry of Education who said, in connection with massacres that have been perpetrated against Mizrahi Jews: "There were other holocausts, not of the same scale, but other holocausts."