Lapid and Gal-On: Continental civility at its best!
Implies MK and Women’s Rights Activist is a Whore
Tommy Lapid seems to have lost it. See, Lapid is head of Shinui, a secular anti-haredi (ultra-orthodox) party. Last Monday there was an important Knesset vote on the budget. Had the budget not been approved then Sharon’s government would have been forced to call an election which in turn would have caused the Gaza disengagement to be suspended till at least 2006. Ordinarily, a party like Shinui would be expected to embrace the budget rather than put at risk the disengagement which it ought to support. Instead however, Lapid decided to be coy, and borrowing a page from the haredi parties which he ordinarily castigates, decided to hold the government hostage and withhold his badly needed support until some plum benefit was ponied up. The price of Lapid’s support turned out to be 700 million NIS to be paid to University students and cultural groups, Shinui’s presumptive constituency.
Many saw this as cynical manipulation and sure enough Lapid was roasted for his hypocrisy and lack of principles by both the right and the left. On Monday, Lapid responding to MK Zehava Gal-On’s contention that he could be bought for a price responded with an outburst that included the following implication “I don’t want to say to you what I think about her profession.”
He later added
It’s a direct response to what she said about us. I responded to her in the same manner. They tell me that now they know what our price is, and this is my answer. Anyone who doesn’t want to hear such things from me should mind their tongue.
What was shocking was that in his reaction, he used language that implied that Gal-On was a prostitute. This is a tad ironic given that Gal-On, of the left-wing opposition Yahad party, is head of a parliamentary inquiry into the sex trade industry and the traffic of women in Israel.
Lapid later apologized, which was wise given the uproar that followed his impolitic remarks. However, even his apology was not well thought out. He stated:
The story with Zehava Gal-On is just like kids’ bickering: ‘She started it … I didn’t mean to insult her and because I am a European gentleman, I’m sorry if I hurt her and retract my remarks.
He apologized because he’s a “European gentleman?” As if one has to be of European extraction in order to behave in a civil manner? Haaretz noted, vis-a-vis Shinui’s plans for the next election that
… this quintessential Ashkenazi is hoping to woo Sephardi voters. Lapid is apparently sick of being the leader of a “European” party; now, he wants Jews of Middle Eastern descent in Shinui as well.
Now I’m no political consultant, but I imagine lording over your superior Ashkenazic heritage is not a good way to attract Sepahrdi voters. Perhaps what he should have said instead was “Apologize? To hell with that! She’s lucky I don’t slap her around. Now tell her to bring me a nana tea and a plate of hummus!” The response might have been just as outraged but at least maybe he’d get a couple extra Sephardic votes. In the meantime, I sit back and watch sadly as the secularists and the left beat each other up. Why can’t we all just get along people?