Habayit Hayehudi members storm out of Knesset during address of European Parliament President Martin Schulz, after Schulz repeats erroneous claim he heard in Ramallah regarding Israeli water policy • Left slams Habayit Hayehudi's conduct.
Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies
European Parliament President Martin Schulz addresses the Knesset on Wednesday
Habayit Hayehudi ministers and MKs stormed out of European Parliament President Martin Schulz's address to the Knesset on Wednesday, after Schulz implied that Israel has a discriminatory water policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
Speaking about a meeting with Palestinians in Ramallah earlier this week, Schulz said, "One of the questions these young people asked me which I found most moving -- although I could not check the exact figures -- was this: how can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 liters of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?"
Schulz also called Israeli settlement policy an "obstacle" to a peace deal and said Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip is "driving people to despair -- despair which in turn is being exploited by extremists."
"The blockade may in fact undermine, rather than strengthen, Israel's security," Schulz asserted.
Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev stood up and interrupted Schulz's speech, saying, "How can a son of the German nation not be ashamed to quote lies he heard in Ramallah?"
"Israel has been out of Gaza for a long time now, and your support of the Palestinians, who are inciting for the destruction of Israel, on the Knesset podium 70 years after the Holocaust, is chutzpah," Yogev said to Schulz.
After Yogev's outburst, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, along with the rest of his party's ministers and MKs, walked out of the Knesset hall.
Following Schulz's speech, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) took to the podium and criticized Schulz, saying he had uttered a "vulgar lie."
"When he said these things, and in German, it is no wonder that MKs and ministers objected," Livnat said.
Yogev said, "It's a shame, [Schulz] is supporting those who are inciting for the extermination of the Jews."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also took issue with Schulz's speech.
"The European parliament president visited Ramallah and heard from young people he met with data about water, according to which an Israeli consumes four times as much water as a Palestinian," Netanyahu said. "But a look at the data of the water authorities of Israel and the Palestinian Authority make it clear that what he heard is not correct. The gap is significantly smaller. Schulz admitted that he did not examine the figures, but this did not stop him from making the unchecked claim."
Netanyahu said Schulz had exhibited "selective hearing."
On Facebook, Bennett wrote, "We will not restrain ourselves when we hear lies."
Bennett said Schulz's speech contained "two blatant lies" -- the statements about water consumption and the blockade of Gaza.
"I will not accept a false moralizing narrative against Israel in our parliament, in our Knesset," Bennett wrote. "Certainly not in German."
Leftist parties criticized the conduct of Habayit Hayehudi. Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) defended Schulz, calling him a "friend of Israel."
"Since when are you afraid of criticism?" Herzog said to Schulz's Knesset detractors. "It's time you learn to accept criticism and stop declaring war on the entire world."
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said, "I want to remind my friends in Habayit Hayehudi that, despite their efforts, we still live in a democratic nation, in which criticism can and should be heard, in any language. The use of the Holocaust in order to not deal with international criticism is not just repulsive, but also already very ridiculous."
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) also admonished MKs for their behavior during Schulz's speech.
"If this is how MKs act, then no one will want to appear before us and the Knesset will not fill any role in the international arena," Edelstein said.
Before his speech, Schulz was greeted at the Knesset with an official welcome ceremony.
In his speech, Schulz said the EU had no intention of boycotting Israel.
"I am of the conviction that what we need is more cooperation, not division," Schulz said.
"I am a German who did not experience at first hand the atrocities of National Socialism, but the crimes committed by the Nazis were the reason I became involved in politics and their repercussions have influenced political thinking from the start, " Schulz said. "I bear the same responsibility as every other German for the mass murder perpetrated in the name of my nation."
"Acting responsibly means, for us, openly acknowledging Israel's right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to live in security and peace," Schulz said. "The European Union will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel."