A video in which an Israeli Arab news anchor criticized Palestinians for using religion as an excuse to attack Jews has racked up over a million views, becoming a centerpiece of efforts by Israel supporters to advocate for the country online.
Lucy Aharish, 34, was interviewed last week on Israel’s Channel 2 about an ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism that has Israel on edge. In a segment of the interview shared nearly 1.5 million times on Facebook, and tens of thousands more on YouTube and elsewhere, Aharish slammed Palestinians and Arab Israeli leaders for inciting violence.
“Some of the Arab leaders are keeping a horrific and deafening silence,” she said, according to a translation of the interview by The Israel Project. “They are not trying to calm the situation, not trying to act toward mutual understanding and accepting the other.”
Aharish hosts news shows for Israel’s Channel 2 and i24 News stations.
Earlier this year, she was chosen to light a torch at Israel’s official Independence Day ceremony, in what was seen as a highly symbolic gesture.
During her monologue, Aharish didn’t shy away from the controversy surrounding the Temple Mount, known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. Much of the violence has been touched by Palestinian claims that Israel intends to change the status quo on the holy site, where Jews can visit but not pray, but Aharish joined Israeli leaders who have strenuously denied any plan to make changes.
Even if it had changed, though, she said it is no excuse to resort to violence.
“Even if the status quo on the Temple Mount has been broken, does that allow someone to go and murder someone else because of a sacred place?” Aharish said. “Why, because of God? What God are they speaking of? One that allows for children to go out and murder innocent people?
“What woman puts a hijab on and prays to God, takes a knife out and tries to stab innocent people?” she asked.
Aharish also called Arab leaders in Israel “weak” and suggested their purported outrage about the Temple Mount is insincere.
“They know how to march and go to the Temple Mount and shout, although they don’t believe in God, you don’t have a religion, but yet shouting that it’s ours. What ours are you talking about?” Aharish said. “It’s the house of God. Your God? You have ownership on it? What are you talking about?”
She ended her rant by criticizing leaders for inciting young Arabs to violence.
“You are inciting thousands of young people to go to the streets. You are destroying their future with your own hands,” she said.
When Aharish was 6 years old, she was injured when Palestinian attackers lobbed a Molotov cocktail at the car she was riding in with her parents in the Gaza Strip.