"Since the current government under your leadership took office, we have been witness to unbridled incitement, unprecedented in its extremeness, on the part of ministers in your government against organized labor and working people in Israel." Thus Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Ofer Eini wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a very strongly worded letter today, against a background of exchanges of accusations between ministers and workers' unions, particularly the port workers.
Punning on the Hebrew words for port and ant, which sound alike, Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett today wrote on his Facebook page about the need to exterminate the ants that were getting everywhere in the house.
"Out of a sense of responsibility to the nation, and despite the difficulty of exercising self-restraint, the Histadrut under my leadership has held back and acted responsibly, and has not been provoked by the incitement. I believe that there should be a policy of unity and prevention of discord in Israeli society," Eini wrote.
"It seems that ministers in your government have been competing with one another recently over who can set the bar of incitement highest, and it becomes more extreme daily. Last night, at midnight, the Minister of the Economy, Mr. Naftali Bennett, excelled himself by publishing a post on his Facebook page in which he made a frightening, shameful, and provocative comparison between the port workers and ants that needed to be exterminated. The use of such expressions belongs in other kinds of regime, and in other countries, beyond the boundaries of democracy," the letter continues.
"I am shocked that a senior minister in your government things, and, even worse, expresses himself in such terms. It is inconceivable that ministers in the government of Israel should make such remarks about citizens of the country. As prime minister, you are duty bound not to stand aside and let this incitement take place. It is your responsibility to see to it that government ministers cease making remarks of this kind. In these circumstances, the minister Bennett must be called to order, and the government should apologize to the working public. I call on you to promote the unity of the nation and to act without delay to eradicate the wild incitement," Eini concludes.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 23, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013