Every week, a short time before the Shas faction in Knesset meets they have a mincha minyan in the faction room. Usually, Shas ministers and MKs attend along with other MKs, parliamentary aides, Knesset employees and members of the press attend. It is an open minyan.
When Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) chareidi affairs correspondent Michael Shemesh entered the room, he was met with an angry greeting from Barak Seri, Minister Aryeh Deri’s spokesman, who instructed him to leave the room.
According to those present, Seri shouted “chutzpan chutzpan get out! I will file a complaint against you with the station director, Yaron Dekel.”
Needless to say Shemesh was quite embarrassed as elected officials, Knesset employees and others witnessed the incident. They were clearly uncomfortable with what had occurred as they understood the young correspondent simply wanted to take part in the minyan, nothing more. Some explain that this was not the first time Seri lost his cool.
Those present were clueless as members of the press routinely daven mincha in the Shas room. Another aide to Deri is quoted saying “Deri should put Seri in his place for acting as he did”. Seri is also quoted yelling “There are no chareidim in Galei Tzahal and until there are, you are ousted from the Shas mincha”.
Shas faction members tried to explain away the incident, as clearly they are at a loss for words too. Seri is quoted by Kikar Shabbos News confirming that he filed a complaint with Yaron Dekel against Shemesh. Seri explains that Shemesh was instructed to wait along with all of the other correspondents until Deri spoke to the press, giving a statement to the media.
He accuses Shemesh, who is a soldier working for the radio station, of entering the faction room without permission and then refusing to leave. He insists all of the other members of the press left the room as instructed with the exception of Shemesh. Seri concluded that this was not the first time Shemesh refused to comply with instructions and as a soldier in uniform, he I compelled to do so.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)