Bennett calls attack on leftist writer ‘barbaric’

Jewish Home leader condemns ‘cowardly’ assault on Yehonatan Geffen days after poet’s fiery speech against PM

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, November 6, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, November 6, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett called an attack on Israeli writer Yehonatan Geffen “a cowardly and barbaric act” on Saturday.

Bennett wrote on Twitter that “a man of words should be answered with words, not (violence).”

“Yehonatan, go home and feel better,” he wrote, paraphrasing Geffen’s famous song “Yehonatan go home”.

Geffen was attacked in his home in central Israel by an unknown individual on Friday, two days after he had called the prime minister a racist and commented bitterly on the election result.

Geffen, father of renowned rock musician Aviv Geffen and actress/filmmaker Shira Geffen, answered the door to his Netanya residence on Friday afternoon to an unknown person who immediately began punching the 68-year-old, throwing eggs at him and calling him a “traitor,” Geffen told police.

Yehonatan Geffen in a 2012 interview with Israeli media. (screen capture: YouTube)
Yehonatan Geffen in a 2012 interview with Israeli media. (screen capture: YouTube)

Geffen was not badly hurt in the attack but was reported to have been deeply traumatized by it.

Following Netanyahu’s reelection on Tuesday, Geffen, a noted left-wing activist, addressed a crowd in Tel Aviv to express his concern over the country’s future. “Congratulations to the Emperor for being reelected again,” Geffen said.

“He hasn’t crushed us enough. Another four years of divisiveness, divisiveness, divisiveness. I don’t mind telling you that I am very sad and could not sleep all night. March 17 will prove to be a Nakba for the peace camp,” Geffen said, using the Arabic word for catastrophe that is commonly used in the Arab world to describe the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Geffen also criticized Netanyahu for stating that Arab-Israelis were “voting in droves” on election day in a video used to drive Likud supporters to the polls and accused voters of electing “a leader that has promised us death.”

Last month, Bennett was assigned a heavier security detail after posters depicting the Jewish Home leader as Hitler with a swastika on his forehead appeared in Jerusalem.

The far-right wing minister accused the left of incitement at the time, stating they had “learned nothing from the murder of (Yitzhak) Rabin.”

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