Gal-on: Right-wing incitement to blame for fatal firebomb attack
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Gal-on: Right-wing incitement to blame for fatal firebomb attack

Meretz head says condemnation is not enough, calls for 'real soul-searching' by those who 'ride waves of hatred for political gain'

Zahava Gal-on, leader of the left-wing Meretz party seen at party headquarters as the exit polls in the Israeli general elections for the 20th parliament are announced on March 17, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)
Zahava Gal-on, leader of the left-wing Meretz party seen at party headquarters as the exit polls in the Israeli general elections for the 20th parliament are announced on March 17, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)

The head of the left-wing Meretz party charged Saturday that right-wing incitement against Arabs and Palestinians was to blame for the fatal West Bank firebomb attack Friday morning by suspected Jewish extremists that left Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha dead and his family fighting for their lives.

In a speech before Israeli youth Saturday, Zahava Gal-on said that political condemnations of the attack were “not enough and neither were the general statements about soul-searching.”

“The hatred [that led] to the killing has a name,” Gal-on said.

In similar comments on her Facebook page made a day earlier, Gal-on wrote that “those responsible also have names; ministers, members of Knesset, municipal rabbis, Lehava [the anti-assimilation organization], Kahanists…The hatred they spread is not general, it’s a hatred toward Arabs — whether they are Palestinian citizens of Israel or Palestinians living in the territories.”

“Those who must do the real soul-searching also have names,” she accused, pointing a finger at “those who rode the waves of hatred for political gains, those who took advantage of this hatred to win elections and those who kept silent while members of their government called to raze the Supreme Court.”

Gal-on was referring to the infamous statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on elections day warning that Arabs were “voting in droves” and calling for Likud supporters to get to the polls; and a comment this week by Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev who called to take a “D-9 [bulldozer] to the Supreme Court.”

She called on them to “take responsibility for the words coming out of their mouths.”

The fatal attack was condemned by Israeli politicians across the board, including Netanyahu who called it “terrorism in every respect” and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Earlier Saturday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog also issued a call to action against Jewish terrorism, and demanded that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon respond to such acts in the same way as Israel responds to Islamist terrorism.

Without mentioning the firebomb attack, Herzog wrote in an impassioned post on Facebook that, “After we have condemned and condemned again, we cannot — again – return to daily events as though nothing happened.”

It is time for action, he wrote, “that meets the threat to Israel’s security posed by Jewish terrorists, who endanger us exactly like their brothers – Islamist terrorists.”

Herzog took aim at the political and security echelons, which he accused of ineffectual measures and of turning a blind eye to Jewish extremists. “If I were prime minister, I would instruct the Shin Bet [domestic security service] to deal with Jewish terrorism like Islamist terrorism,” he wrote. “With determination and not with a wink.”

He urged the defense establishment to utilize “all the tools at our disposal in the battle against Islamist terrorism,” calling for the use of administrative detentions and for the criminalizing of certain organizations.

Three members of the anti-assimilation  Lehava organization, suspects in an arson attack on a Jewish-Arab school, are brought to a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem on December 15, 2014.  (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Three members of the anti-assimilation Lehava organization, suspects in an arson attack on a Jewish-Arab school, are brought to a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem on December 15, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Citing radical right-wing group Lehava, as well as “the Marzels” — a reference to far-right extremist and failed Knesset candidate Baruch Marzel, and “La Familia” [sic] — Beitar Jerusalem’s cabal of racist fans, Herzog said he “would class them as terrorist organizations. And even consider demolishing the homes of these terrorists and their families. Everything that is used to strike against Islamist terrorism should be used here too.”

The opposition leader also demanded that the media stop whitewashing such attacks and call “this by its true name. It is not a revenge attack, nor is it a price tag [attack]. It is terrorism. Period. And they are terrorists. Period. Jews and Islamists who endanger the security of Israel.”

Herzog concluded by saying he would be attending an impromptu rally against violence and hatred in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

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