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Right-Wing Israeli Lawmaker Mocks Wheelchair-Bound Colleague As ‘Half A Human’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Likud Party lawmaker Oren Hazan is under fire for calling a disabled fellow lawmaker “half a human” during a Knesset debate.

Ilan Gilon of the liberal opposition Meretz Party was criticizing Culture Minister Miri Regev during a heated debate Monday on a bill that would withhold state funding to cultural organizations that show insufficient “loyalty” to the state. Hazan leapt to Regev’s defense and the lawmakers exchanged words.

After Gilon called Hazan “the Golem of Prague” — an anthropomorphic being made of clay and given life — Hazan threatened the disabled lawmaker saying: “If you weren’t half a human, I would respond to you.”

Gilon had polio as a child and frequently uses a wheelchair.

Hazan later apologized for the taunt, saying he was not taking a jab at the lawmaker’s disability.

“My comments referred to his barbaric behavior, and not anything else. If my statements were understood otherwise, it was not my intention. Please accept my apology,” Hazan said.

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