A view of Israel's Knesset in 2006
A view of Israel's Knesset in 2006. A Russian model-turned-Israeli lawmaker made a splash in Israel's parliament on Monday by dousing an Arab lawmaker with a glass of water after a spat during a committee hearing. © - AFP/POOL/File
A view of Israel's Knesset in 2006
AFP
Last updated: January 9, 2012

Israeli lawmaker cools debate with water toss in MP's face

A Russian model-turned-Israeli lawmaker made a splash in Israel's parliament on Monday by dousing an Arab lawmaker with a glass of water after a spat during a committee hearing.

The unusual breach of protocol, even in the often-raucous Knesset, came after right-wing MP Anastassia Michaeli of the hardline Yisrael Beitenu traded barbs with Labour party lawmaker Ghaleb Majdale.

The debate, on the participation of an Arab-Israeli school in a human rights march, quickly became heated, and Michaeli interrupted Majdale, who promptly told her to "shut up."

Gathering her items in a huff to leave, Michaeli marched over to Majdale and tossed a full cup of a water in his face, soaking him and provoking audible gasps in the room.

As she stalked out of the room, her assistant trailing behind, Majdale smiled.

"This says it all," he told his colleagues, before turning to the committee chairman. "I'm sure you won't agree to such wild and fascist behaviour."

The incident was captured by Knesset television and quickly hit the headlines.

Michaeli, a former Miss Saint Petersburg who worked as a model in Paris, defended her actions in a statement afterwards.

"The times when a man could curse a woman publicly, insult her and act violently are gone," she said. "I think water is an excellent way to cool off."

Michaeli has drawn fire for her sponsorship of legislation to limit the volume of the Muslim call to prayer, a bill she said was intended to tackle noise pollution but which sparked allegations of racism and discrimination.

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