Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped an Israeli lawmaker from taking on a Jordanian counterpart in a fist-fight on Wednesday over a diplomatic crisis between the two neighbors.
Oren Hazan, a member of Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party had tweeted on the day of the shooting that Jordanians “who we keep supplied with water and whose butts we defend day and night” needed “re-education”.
His comments prompted a challenge from a similarly fiery lawmaker in Jordan. “Let him meet me, if he is a man,” Yahya Soud said on Twitter.
They were due to square off against each other on Wednesday morning on the border.
Al-Saoud challenged Hazan to a faceoff at the Allenby Bridge crossing after the Israeli berated Jordan, claiming Israel always “protects their posterior, day and night. They need a little re-education.”
Hazan picked up the gauntlet but struck a more jocular tone ahead of the rendezvous, posting photos of him getting a haircut and tweeting: “A gentleman is never late!”
He said he would meet al-Saoud and “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” His spokesman Daniel Zirlin said the meeting would be “non-violent” and would carry “a message of reconciliation and peace.”
Al-Saoud struck a harsher tone, telling reporters on his way to the crossing that he was “serious about going to the bridge and beating up this dirty person.”
“We want to tell Netanyahu that if the door to jihad (holy war) was open, the Jordanians would stomp on them (Israelis) with their shoes,” al-Saoud said. (Emphases added.)
But with social media anticipation at a frenzy, minutes before the two were set to clash on the bridge, Hazan said that he was pulling out of the rendezvous at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I came today ready for a meeting of peace but when the prime minister asks, I respect his request,” he told Israel Radio from the border. (Emphasis added.)