Top 33 Most Embarrassing Moments in Knesset History

Which MK gave a heartfelt eulogy to someone who wasn't dead? Who was caught smuggling drugs?

Most concise sessionMay 2005: The 248th session of the 16th Knesset is attended by the Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, and by a single MK: Jamal Zahalka ?(Balad?). The session is adjourned.

Most romantic gestureJune 1993: An Italian visitor to the Knesset leaps from the visitors? gallery into the chamber and is caught in the sturdy arms of MK Haim Dayan (Tsomet).

Most patriotic sessionApril 1959: On the night of April 1, the army conducts a surprise exercise and calls up reserve units by code name over the radio. The public is gripped by panic and the Knesset session is adjourned. Opposition leader MK Menachem Begin (Herut) takes the podium and declares: "If in the wake of what has happened our mobilized army is summoned to action, we will all stand behind it." After making a phone call, finance minister Levi Eshkol informs the House that the call-up is only an exercise. In reaction, three factions submit motions of no-confidence in the government.

Most daring personMarch 1949: Avraham Sarfati, a new immigrant from Iran, enters the Kessem Cinema in Tel Aviv, the temporary home of the Knesset, and aims a submachine gun at the government table, where prime minister David Ben-Gurion is sitting. A guard throws him to the ground before Sarfati can open fire. He later tells police interrogators that he wanted to persuade the MKs to build a third Temple.

Most generous complimentJuly 2008: An argument breaks out in a meeting of the Knesset?s Education Committee between Education Minister Yuli Tamir ?(Labor?) and MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima). "Suddenly the minister of education, a university professor, says I am a piece of shit," Tirosh says, shaken. Tamir claims that she said only, "You are garbage, and I am still fixing the shit you left behind in the educational system."

Most personal importsOctober 2004: MK Michael Gorlovsky (Likud) is caught by customs officials in the airport trying to bring in eight cartons of cigarettes - twice the amount permitted - without declaring them. He pays a fine of NIS 1,000. January 2009: Tourism Minister Ruhama Avraham Balila (Kadima) is caught trying to smuggle in four bottles of whiskey and is fined NIS 720.

Most educated MKFebruary 2007: The Knesset Ethics Committee reprimands MK Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) after it is discovered that, contrary to her declarations, she does not have an MBA or even a bachelor's degree in accountancy and financial management.

Most outstanding importerApril 2004: Tsomet MK and former science and energy minister Dr. Gonen Segev is arrested after trying to bring 25,000 Ecstasy pills from Amsterdam into Israel, using his diplomatic passport, which has expired. "A friend gave me a package and I thought it was chocolates," he said in his interrogation.

Most in-demand MK (female)January 2004: Inbal Gavrieli (Likud) says she encounters sexual harassment at least three times a day. Furthermore, she does not hesitate to invoke her parliamentary immunity to prevent the police from entering the home of her father, Shoni Gavrieli, even though they have a search warrant, in order to question him about suspected tax evasion and alleged laundering of gambling money.

Most moving eulogyAugust 1999: Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg states in the Knesset plenum that veteran MK Amnon Rubinstein has died. The MKs rise and honor him with a minute of silence; Burg delivers a moving eulogy which is broadcast on television. One of those moved is Rubinstein himself, watching the event from his sickbed in Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. It later turns out that Zalman Shoshi, a transgender celebrity, posed as a doctor and announced Rubinstein?s death. Burg had not checked the facts.

Most sophisticated theft (1)June 2006: MK Sofa Landwer (Yisrael Beiteinu) is caught by the Knesset?s security cameras removing some chairs and a potted plant from the office of MK Ruhama Avraham Balila. The Ethics Committee rules that she severely compromised Avraham Balila's privacy.

Most sophisticated theft (2)March 2003: After being suspected of voting twice on the state budget - once in his name and once in the name of MK Inbal Gavrieli (Likud) - MK Yehiel Hazan (Likud) takes the electronic voting panel out of the Knesset storeroom, stuffs it into a plastic bag and hightails it out of the building.

Most artistic ideaJuly 1998: Knesset Speaker Dan Tichon (Likud) initiates a project to have a kinetic sculpture 26 meters high and 14 meters wide installed on the roof of the Knesset building and to let it spin there all day. The cost of the sculpture - a combination of a Star of David and a seven-branched candelabrum - is estimated at $300,000. In the end, the project is scrapped.

Most hospitable MKMarch 2006: MK Naomi Blumenthal (Likud) is sentenced to 18 months in prison - eight months behind bars and 10 months suspension - after being convicted of election bribery and disrupting legal proceedings. Blumenthal bribed members of the Likud central committee by paying for them to stay at the Sheraton City Tower Hotel in Tel Aviv to win their support in the party primary. President Shimon Peres decides that Blumenthal will do community service and pay a fine, but not go to jail.

Most unusual complaintMarch 2004: MK Yoram Marciano (Labor) files a complaint against himself to the Ethics Committee, claiming he failed to uphold the honor of the Knesset and the MKs when he got drunk in a nightclub, scuffled with security guards and threatened to bring in a buddy from the underworld.

Most organized tourJune 2004: Labor MKs Shimon Peres, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Dalia Itzik and Haim Ramon travel to the wedding of the tycoon Aaron Frankel, at his expense. The wedding is in Monaco. A year later, the Ethics Committee severely reprimands the traveling quartet.

Most contact with votersJuly 2006: MK Nadia Hilou (Labor) requests a second mobile phone as part of the MKs "contact with the public" service and gives it to her daughter for her private use.

Most personal greetingSeptember 2001: Rosh Hashanah greeting cards sent by MK Shlomo Benizri (Shas) to his supporters and admirers in the party on official State of Israel letterhead come with a P.S. - noting that according to a ruling by Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, the commandment of atonement can be carried out by donating to the Ma'ayan Torah education network, operated by Shas, "to which end we are enclosing a return envelope (no postage stamp needed), or you can make a direct donation via the Postal Bank, account No. xxx, and you shall be blessed by the God of Israel."

Most lawful assemblyNovember 1978: Two months after the Camp David summit (on Israeli-Egyptian peace), three persons armed with protest signs demonstrate in the Knesset chamber against the Begin government's policies. The three are Likud MKs Moshe Shamir and Geula Cohen, and NRP MK Haim Druckman.

Most binding protestDecember 1978: MK Charlie Biton, representing the Black Panthers social-activism movement in the Hadash party, handcuffs himself to the Knesset rostrum, forcing the Speaker to stop the debate. Several MKs try to free Biton, but unsuccessfully; he is finally set free by the Knesset dog handler.

Most diplomatic welcomeMarch 1979: Chief of staff Rafael Eitan and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek are photographed fast asleep in the VIP gallery as U.S. president Jimmy Carter addresses the Knesset.

Most aesthetic suggestionFebruary 2007: MK Moshe Sharoni (Pensioners) states in an interview that he would like female parliamentary assistants to wear bird-shaped brooches "because they are like birds - either they put out or they flutter away."

Most edible protestFebruary 2005: Explaining the reasons for a no-confidence motion filed by his party, MK Eli Yishai and another Shas MK hold up bags of milk to protest the increase in the price of dairy products.

Most fashionable censorshipFebruary 1979: During a Knesset debate on the peace agreement with Egypt, MK Uri Avnery (Sheli) appears in the chamber wearing a Peace Now T-shirt. Knesset Speaker Yitzhak Shamir summons Avnery to his chambers and asks him to put on a jacket.

Most Freudian analysisNovember 2000: MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) in the plenum: "I am ready to bet that anyone who writes 'Born to Kill' on his helmet is suffering from sexual perversion ..."

Most sincere apologyApril 2003: |Shut up, because you are stupid and heartless,| MK Roman Bronfman (Meretz-Democratic Choice) tells MK Shlomo Benizri (Shas). In a subsequent apology, Bronfman writes: "I should have refrained from expressing myself in this manner even though the target was a person like MK Benizri."

Most constitutional proposalSeptember 2007: MK Moshe Sharoni, chairman of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee of the Knesset, in an interview on Army Radio: "I say about the judicial system that they should stop driving us nuts once and for all."

Most philosophical discussion1951: As the new state tries to come to grips with foreign names, a dispute arises over whether the name of the Roman statesman and orator Cicero should be pronounced Kikero or Sisero. Menachem Begin quotes "Sisero" in an address to the Knesset, to which Speaker Yosef Sprinzak responds: "Mr. Begin, we say 'Kikero.'" Begin retorts: "Thank you very much, Mr. Sprinkak."

Most spiritual protestJune 1993: Shortly after the signing of the Oslo accords, former yeshiva head MK Joseph Bagad (Moledet) strides to the podium wrapped in a tallit (prayer shawl). On the way he places a toy propeller next to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had said that as far as he was concerned, the settlers could "spin like propellers." Bagad then sits down on the floor, and refuses to get up. He is removed by guards.

Most genteel criticism1981-1982: Referring to Hanoch Levin's play "Job's Passion," Miriam Glazer-Taasa (Likud), the deputy education, culture and sports minister, asserts that the state should not fund a theater in which "a naked man hangs for 20 minutes with his genitalia swaying." Glazer-Taasa also tries her hand at poetry criticism: In reference to Yona Wallach's poem "Tefillin," she calls the author "an animal in heat" and "disturbed."

Most reasoned motionMay 1960: A week after the abduction of six-year-old Yossele Schumacher is made public - in what became a cause celebre, as the boy was snatched by his Haredi grandfather, who objected to his parents' secular way of life and eventually smuggled him to the U.S. - MK Yitzhak-Meir Levin (Religious Torah Front) submits a motion of no-confidence in the government in the wake of Ben-Gurion?s statement that only 600 Jews left Egypt during the exodus and only they received the Torah.

Most revisionist curseJune 1982: In a Knesset debate over the first Lebanon War, prime minister Menachem Begin (Likud) labels MK Yossi Sarid (Labor Alignment) khoui - Russian slang for the male sexual organ.

Most thunderous silenceJune 2005: At the initiative of Meretz, the Knesset devotes a session to a recent string of corruption affairs and their implications for public life. Prime minister Ariel Sharon (Kadima) requests to be the first speaker in the debate, but in the end invokes the right to remain silent.