Report: Israeli Official Punched At Peace Conference

It wasn’t so peaceful at the Haaretz Peace Conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was heckled as a “murderer” and “fascist” during his speech and punched in the back by an attendee after he left the stage.

“When Bennett left the stage, dozens of people ran toward him. Some were removed from the room by his bodyguards,” the Post reported. “However, one person managed to get close to the Bayit Yehudi leader and punched him in the back.”

Bennett is head of The Jewish Home party, also known as Bayit Yehudi. The party is the third largest in the Israeli Knesset, holding 12 seats, and part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.

“I represent a stance shared by millions of people and no one will silence me,” Bennett told the Post about the incident.

The publisher of the liberal newspaper Haaretz, which sponsored the conference, lamented the crowd’s treatment of Bennett, noting that many in the audience treated late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with more respect. (READ: Amid Rising Tensions In The Holy Land, Obama Publishes Op-Ed)

“There are people here who agreed to speak to Arafat, but they won’t listen to Bennett,” he said.

The supposed peace conference took place all day Tuesday at Tel Aviv’s David Intercontinental Hotel. At the same time, an Israeli military operation was ongoing into the Gaza Strip to degrade the terrorist group Hamas’ ability to launch rockets into Israel.

Follow Jamie on Twitter