Arab town cancels launch event for convicted terrorist’s book
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Arab town cancels launch event for convicted terrorist’s book

Baqa al-Gharbiya abandons plans after interior minister warns it against using public buildings to ‘give voice’ to Walid Daka

View of the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
View of the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The mayor of the Israeli Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya on Monday canceled plans to hold an official launch event for a book written by a convicted Palestinian terrorist.

The event at a publicly funded community center was to be held for the launch of a children’s book by Walid Daka, an Israeli citizen who was convicted in the abduction and murder of Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

Mayor Mursi Abu Mokh nixed the event after being cautioned by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

“In the State of Israel the writings of a terrorist will not be given voice in a public building owned by the local council,” Deri said.

Daka was sentenced in 1987 to life in prison for his involvement in Tamam’s killing. In 2012, then-president Shimon Peres chiseled the sentence down to 37 years.

IDF soldier Moshe Tamam, who was murdered in 1984 (screen capture: YouTube)

On August 6, 1984, on the eve of the Tisha B’av fast, Tamam was abducted by a group of Arab Israelis as he got off a bus a few minutes away from his home outside of Netanya. Tamam’s body was located four days later — he had been shot, and his face was badly mutilated. He was 19.

Four Arab Israelis affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were later convicted for the attack, including Daka.

Daka has denied any involvement in the killing.

Earlier this year the Culture Ministry reportedly began withholding state funding from an Arabic-language theater that was embroiled in controversy over a production of a play based on the life of Daka.

The decision to defund the Al-Midan theater in Haifa was officially due to financial irregularities and failure to meet the requirements for a state grant, Israel Radio reported in February.

The ministry decided not to transfer NIS 1.1 million ($310,000) in funding already promised for 2016 and to reject the theater’s 2017 application for a grant, the report said.

Culture Minister Miri Regev first froze state funding in 2015 for the theater over the play, called “Parallel Time,” and in 2017 asked the attorney general to investigate the theater’s chairman and artistic director for possible incitement against Israeli soldiers.

The Al-Midan management and the play’s director have maintained the play was simply a fictionalized account of the day-to-day activities of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and does not address, nor glorify, acts of terror.

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