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Video: Benjamin Netanyahu in One Sentence

The Israeli Prime Minister delivers a rare smackdown in the Knesset

Yair Rosenberg
August 01, 2013

Late last night, the Knesset debated a bill that would put any proposed peace deal to a popular referendum, requiring a majority of Israelis to approve withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. During the proceedings, MK Jamal Zahalka, of the Arab party Balad—which advocates turning Israel into a secular bi-national state—ridiculed the bill, telling one of its proponents, “We were here before you—I was here before you!—and we will be here after you.”

At this, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately raised his hand, requesting the right to respond–something the Prime Minister seldom does on the Knesset floor. “I had not intended to speak,” Netanyahu said. “But then I heard the words of MK Zahalka. You said, ‘We were here before you, and we will be here after you.’ The first part is not true. The second part will not happen.” Then he sat down. Watch below(click ‘CC’ for subtitles, if not already enabled):

The Prime Minister posted the exchange on his YouTube channel with the caption: “The essence of the conflict in less than a minute.” Agree or disagree with that assessment, it definitely encapsulates Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.