Who's a Rag?

In the Knesset it is permissible to say 'you are an enemy of Israel' and even 'a traitor,' and use other expressions of racism, hatred and incitement, yet it is totally forbidden to say 'you're a shitty person.'

From the moment the word escaped the speaker's big mouth, it was clear that it would never be the same again: From now on, the black rag will fly above the Knesset

For years I've been trying to get rid of the skeleton in the closet, but what I feared has happened: The weekly newspaper Makor Rishon has revealed that I was the first to introduce this miserable curse word into the parliamentary lexicon. Already in 1990, according to the paper, I said: "It's true that the Likud is a gang of adventurers. But the Alignment [the forerunner of the Labor Party] is a gang of wimps and cowards, and to put it simply, a gang of rags." The Knesset speaker - who will take the earplugs out of his ears - failed to do his job: He neither silenced me nor did he remove me from the dais.

Generations come and generations go, and the raggedness of Labor remains; its members would probably prefer to be insulted as "adventurers." Whereas I, whose secret has arisen from the grave and is showing through my shroud (which is also a type of rag) - how will I show my embarrassed face, with people pointing at me and saying: That's the man who corrupted the soul of the Knesset. I wouldn't want to be remembered that way, especially with a father who barred the Beatles from entering Israel.

The present Knesset speaker did not turn a deaf ear, and with a spectacular demonstration of "assertive and opinionated" feminism, as we generally say today, chased Gideon Sa'ar away from the microphone. Thus will be done to whomever Dalia Itzik wants to put in place. She may have been somewhat hasty and didn't have time to find out what the speaker meant: After all, not all rags are made of one cloth. There's a difference between a rag for dusting or for shining shoes or for washing floors, but there's also a rag that serves as a flag.

The Knesset suffers from over-sensitivity to dirty words and under-sensitivity to clean words that have been laundered. It looks at the word rather than its contents. It is permissible to say "you are an enemy of Israel" and even "a traitor," and use other expressions of racism, hatred and incitement, yet it is totally forbidden to say "you're a shitty person." This week a British newspaper quoted Bill Clinton saying that for his part, Obama can "kiss my ass." The stern, matronly Itzik would not have permitted that "ass" - phew, disgusting.

The 17th Knesset, which Itzik promised to improve when it was established, is a particularly wild Knesset. In the past fortnight alone it passed the Golan referendum law designed to prevent an agreement with Syria; the law against visits to enemy countries, which is designed to expel the Arab representatives from the Knesset; the Citizenship Law that prevents the reunification of Palestinian families; the Compensation Law that denies rights to innocent victims in the territories; and the Dromi Law, which permits killing burglars without superfluous questions.

Five monstrous laws for the glory of the State of Israel, some of which bypass the High Court of Justice, and all of which were passed with the support of stain-removing rags. In the time of Netanyahu and Sharon such evil laws were not passed, and why did Avigdor Lieberman hasten to abandon the Knesset when his work is being done by others like him.

My wife has said to me several times: "Yossi, you're simply a rag." I have never considered calling on Dalia Itzik to defend me. Next time I'll consider another reaction; Dorit has already been warned.