Veteran Arab Israeli lawmaker MK Ahmad Tibi came under fire Tuesday after he included the photo of a Jewish Israeli boy in a montage that was supposed to be of Palestinian children killed by the IDF.
The mother of Ido Avigal, 5, who was killed in May 2021 by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a residential building in Israel, responded by demanding Tibi remove the image, which he later did.
Tibi, of the Hadash-Ta’al party, had posted the montage as a response to a remark by Israel Hayom journalist Yehuda Schlesinger, who earlier posted to X, formerly Twitter, that the IDF “does not bomb homes with children [inside].”
Schlesinger made the comment in the wake of an interview by the leaders of the Brothers and Sisters in Arms, a prominent protest group against the government’s judicial overhaul efforts, to CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Shira Eting, a former combat helicopter pilot, told the show in reference to Israeli strikes on terrorists’ homes, “If you want pilots to be able to fly, and shoot bombs and missiles into houses knowing they might be killing children, they must have the strongest confidence in the people making those decisions.”
The interview was filmed in July and broadcast on Sunday night as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed on a long-awaited trip to the US.
הי אחמד מה נשמע, שומע? זה סבבה לגמרי לקחת כל מיני ילדים, לשים אותם בתמונה אחת ולספר לעולם שצהל הרג אותם, אבל יש מצב אתה מוריד את התמונה של הילד שלי משם? אני די בטוחה שחמאס רצחו אותו, ופצעו את הבת שלי, וגם את האחיינים שלי, וגם אותי אבל אני לא ילדה אז שיהיה. אה כן, הם ירו לבית! pic.twitter.com/JY66pJJrph
— שני אביגל shani avigal (@Shani_avigal) September 19, 2023
Tibi shared Schlesinger’s post along with the montage of 36 children and the remark “Except for these times.”
The collection of portrait images included Avigal, who was killed during 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, when the IDF battled against Hamas-led Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Over 4,000 rockets were fired at Israeli territory during the fighting.
Avigal could be seen in the image Tibi posted, third row from the bottom, third from the right.
Avigal’s mother, Shani Avigal, shared Tibi’s post and wrote, “It is all fine and dandy to take all kinds of children, put them in one picture and tell the world that the IDF killed them, but could you possibly remove the picture of my boy from there? I am pretty sure that Hamas murdered him, and injured my daughter, and my niece, and me, but I am not a child so whatever.”
Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir responded with his own post to X reading, “Ahmad Tibi the terrorist, are you not ashamed to use the photo of an innocent Jewish boy who was murdered by your friends in Hamas? It is a disgrace that you are in the Knesset.”
Tibi later removed the post with the montage and explained, “I deleted the first picture out of respect for the request of a bereaved mother, the mother of Ido, of blessed memory, who I have mentioned several times in recent years.”
“A child is a child,” Tibi continued. “The killing of children is terrible, Palestinian and Israeli. It hurts a Palestinian mother too. There is no monopoly on pain.”
Tibi also included a photo of the front page of the Haaretz newspaper from May 27, 2021, that declared that 67 children were killed in Gaza during the fighting along with a montage of their photos.