Clip shows far-right wedding-goers celebrating Duma killings
Israeli youngsters, said to be friends of detainees in deadly firebombing, stab photo of 18-month-old victim; wave firebombs, rifles and knives at Jerusalem event
Footage released on Wednesday showed dozens of young Israeli right-wing extremists, said to be linked to the suspected perpetrators of the Dawabsha family murder, celebrating the killing at a wedding last week. The images in the clip immediately sparked wide condemnation.
The video, aired by Channel 10, shows revelers at the Jerusalem celebration waving knives, rifles, pistols and a Molotov cocktail during the wedding.
Amid the festivities, a photo of baby Ali Dawabsha, who was burned to death in the July 31 firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma, is shown being repeatedly stabbed.
The crowd in the video chants the lyrics of a song which include a verse from Judges 16:28, quoting Samson, blinded in Gaza, saying “let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes” — but changing the word Philistines to Palestine.
The couple whose wedding was being celebrated was said to be friends of Jewish extremists detained in connection with the firebombing attack.
The attack in Duma on July 31 killed three members of a Palestinian family. Only one member of the Dawabsha family — Ahmed, now 5 — survived the attack, and remains hospitalized in Israel. The 18-month-old baby Ali was killed on the night of the attack, while parents Riham and Saad succumbed to their injuries in the succeeding weeks.
According to the TV report, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon broadcast the clip to settler leaders a few days ago, to underline that dozens of young extremists are passionately supportive of the alleged Jewish terrorists.
The TV report said the footage was a factor in the stream of statements of support from right-wing leaders for the Shin Bet security service in its battle against Jewish terrorism in the last few days.
According to Haaretz reporter Chaim Levinson on Twitter, the bride was arrested in the past for carrying out an attack against Palestinians, along with the wife of one of the main suspects in the Duma case. She received 350 hours of community service for the crime.
The video was met with harsh condemnation from across the political spectrum.
Minutes after the clip was aired, Zionist Union MK and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni got up before the Knesset and railed against the youngsters in the film, saying “this is the group that wants to destroy the Jewish Israel, to destroy this state from within, to destroy the government from within and sow hate.”
Pointing at Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich, Livni said: “These are the people you protest being interrogated by the Shin Bet.”
“My Judaism is not the Judaism of those dancing on the blood of babies,” she added on Twitter.
Smotrich condemned the “evil price tag ideology,” referring to right-wing attacks against Palestinians, but attempted to disassociate himself from the extremists, saying it “is not the way of religious Zionism, period.”
“The demonic dance with the picture of the murdered baby represents a dangerous ideology and the loss of humanity,” he said, according the Israel National News website.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog termed the revelers “maniacs.”
“Lowlifes, you forgot what it is to be Jewish. You disgrace the kippah, the prayer shawl, and the name of God. Those who dance at a wedding and celebrate the death of a baby in his sleep are not Jews and not Israeli. They should be locked up as soon as possible,” he said in a tweet.
In a statement, the Joint List of Arab parties said the Israeli government and defense minister, “who let the settlers attack Palestinians without facing punishment, are the first ones to blame for this terror network.”
The party urged Israeli society to “wake up” and see that “the hatred and terror are the inevitable result of military control and occupation of a civilian population.”
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), an outspoken supporter of the settlement movement, condemned the participants at the wedding.
“The clip published by Channel 10 news this evening is shocking and one cannot allow the activity of radical groups fueled by hate,” Ariel wrote on Facebook.
“Violence and support of violence deserve only condemnation. This is not the path of Zionism and this is not the path of the settlement movement,” wrote Ariel, who a day earlier had called for the Shin Bet to close down its division that deals with Jewish terror cases.
The video clip was also denounced by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who said it went against Jewish tradition. Other religious figures also spoke out against it.
The video comes as the Shin Bet has faced criticism from some right-wing activists over claims that it has tortured suspects detained in connection with the Duma attack.
An unspecified number of Jewish suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack, which is being investigated as an act of terrorism. Details of the investigation, and the identity of the suspects, have been withheld from publication by a court-imposed gag order.
Earlier Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett doubled down on his criticism of figures in the religious Zionist community for their condemnation of the Shin Bet, calling them hypocrites.
Speaking at a conference of the right-wing weekly B’sheva, the Jewish Home party leader reiterated comments he made a day earlier denouncing right-wing extremists as “terrorists,” and said it was hypocritical to oppose interrogation methods considered acceptable against Palestinians.
“What was done to the Duma detainees is for certain not more, and probably less, than what is done regularly to Palestinian terror suspects,” he said.