Netanyahu blasts Israel’s ‘leftocracy’ in Knesset kick-off

“What bothers you is not the loss of democracy, but the loss of the leftocracy,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech opening the Israeli parliament’s winter session.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

The Knesset’s opening winter session kicked off with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasting Israel’s left.

Netanyahu had a clear message for his political rivals in a speech that also outlined his government’s accomplishments over the past decade.

“What bothers you is not the loss of democracy, but the loss of the leftocracy,” Netanyahu said.

Meretz party chairwoman Tamar Zandberg and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi were ejected from the hall for catcalling during the prime minister’s speech. Ultimately, seven MKs were removed from the room by Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein.

“It’s your right to criticize, to propose changes or amendments; constructive criticism is crucial in democracy,” Netanyahu said.

This was the Knesset’s first meeting after passing July’s controversial nation-state bill. The law enshrines Israel as a Jewish state. It sparked a firestorm of criticism from Israel’s left and minority citizens like the Druze.

“Despite all the achievements, there is a small minority that, with pure brazenness says: You have stolen our state, you have taken our state away from us,” he said. “So I want to say to you and I want you to listen to me carefully — our state is not stolen. Our state is amazing. You should get used to it because this is the new Israel.”

The prime minister rejected leftwing claims that Israel is a fascist state, or for that matter, an apartheid state, calling those statements over the top.

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Several bills are slated to be put forward during the Knesset’s winter session that may play to the strengths of the opposition parties, including a military conscription bill for ultra-orthodox Jews and a proposed surrogacy law for gay couples.