A storm erupted in the Knesset plenum last week when Shinui
MK Paritzki uttered outrageous words of blasphemy against
gedolei hador. Knesset members from UTJ and Shas
protested vociferously against his appalling statements and
did not let Paritzki continue speaking. This resulted in a
ruckus which continued for quite a while even after Paritzki
The incident occurred in the middle of deliberations on
proposals for the day's agenda raised by a number of Knesset
members, among them MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni and David Tal of
Shas. They sought to protest remarks by State Prosecutor Edna
Arbel who had said that HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv's
criticism of the High Court contained "an element of
Rabbi Gafni stressed that the State Prosecutor had behaved in
an untoward manner, and he demanded that the Justice Minster
reach the correct conclusions regarding her dismissal. "She
has transformed the State from a democratic to a communist
one. Do you want to send us to Siberia? Insolence!
Impudence!" he cried out.
He then noted that HaRav Eliashiv had criticized intervention
by the High Court in ideological and religious and issues as
well as in issues of conscience. "Aren't we allowed to
express our beliefs? Apparently our spiritual leaders are
forbidden to say what is said by everyone else who criticizes
the High Court, including the former Chief Justice of the
High Court, its former vice president, judges, Knesset
members, ministers, public figures, jurists and journalists."
MK David Tal asked why secular figures may legitimately
criticize the High Court, while similar remarks by a
religious person become a cause for attack and instigation.
"With all due respect to Ms. Arbel," he said, "I think that
her remarks contain two elements: audacity and bias, and I
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, responding in the name of the
Government, defended Ms. Arbel and even leveled his own
criticism -- albeit more restrained and indirect -- against
HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv's remarks, saying that "they are
not simple." Beilin claimed that while it is legitimate to
criticize a particular High Court verdict, issuing general
criticism against the High Court by saying that it defies the
Torah is problematic.