Jewish Home MK mocks prostrated Muslim worshipers
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Jewish Home MK mocks prostrated Muslim worshipers

Bezalal Smotrich accuses critics of hypocrisy, following uproar over his tweet saying Temple Mount visitors bowing to Jews

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at the party's weekly Knesset faction meeting on January 23, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at the party's weekly Knesset faction meeting on January 23, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A controversial lawmaker from the right-wing Jewish Home party came under fire on Monday after sharing a meme implying Muslim worshipers were bowing down to Jews in Jerusalem.

On Twitter, Bezalel Smotrich posted a photo of Muslims prostrated in prayer outside the Temple Mount in front of a number of Border Police officers. The prayers were held outside one of the entrances to the site, in protest of the decision to install metal detectors there, following Friday’s terror attack, in which two police officers were killed by three Arab Israelis who emerged armed from the Temple Mount compound.

The photo was accompanied by a biblical verse, “Nations shall serve you and kingdoms shall bow down to you,” from the book of Genesis, while Smotrich wrote above the photo “Viral on the internet and reminiscent of the prophet Isaiah: ‘And the children of your oppressors shall go to you bent over, and those who despised you shall prostrate themselves at the soles of your feet, and they shall call you ‘the city of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.’ (Isaiah 60:14).”

After receiving a number of condemnations from social media users over the tweet, Smotrich accused his critics of hypocrisy for not reacting similarly to jokes about Judaism.

“The hysterical responses here to this humorous tweet are incredible. Of course all those who are shocked will respond the same way the next time [comedian] Guri Alfi belittles Jewish customs. #hypocrisy,” he tweeted.

“Or for example the 13 [Joint (Arab) List] MKs that claim there was never a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. It is okay for you to belittle us. I forgot…”

Also criticizing Smotrich was Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, who wrote on Twitter in response: “Here is Bezelal, your fascist from the coalition.”

MK Ahmad Tibi addresses the Knesset plenum on May 6, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
MK Ahmad Tibi addresses the Knesset plenum on May 6, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In response, Smotrich blasted Tibi for not condemning Friday’s shooting at the Temple Mount, which was carried out by three residents of the Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm and killed two Druze Israeli police.

“Ahmed, remind me — did you condemn the terror attack? [Are you] prepared to hear that there was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. You are the last person that I need to receive a grade from,” he tweeted.

In addition to Tibi, Smotrich was criticized by fellow coalition lawmaker Meirav Ben Ari (Kulanu), who tweeted that despite the “excellent legislation” he forwards in the Knesset, the “unnecessary and dark tweet overshadows all your parliamentary work.”

Smotrich has previously found himself in hot water over a number of controversial remarks, including encouraging draft-dodging, in protest of the IDF’s “radical feminist” agenda; comparing the evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost to a “brutal rape,” and for saying that “illiterate” Arabs are granted university admission thanks to affirmative action.

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