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Father of Jewish suspect in Duma killings blasts ‘fuhrer’ Rivlin, ‘Arab’ Obama

Protesting his son’s arrest in deadly firebombing, man also calls Israel the ‘most anti-Semitic country in the world’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

US President Barack Obama helps Israeli President Reuven Rivlin light the menorah during a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington, DC,  December 9, 2015. (Photo by AFP Photo/Jim Watson)
US President Barack Obama helps Israeli President Reuven Rivlin light the menorah during a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington, DC, December 9, 2015. (Photo by AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

The father of a Jewish Israeli suspect in a deadly firebomb attack on the home of a Palestinian family in July has angrily denounced his son’s arrest, referring to President Reuven Rivlin as “the fuhrer” and “pathetic,” and claiming that Israel is the “most anti-Semitic country in the world.”

The man — whose identity has been withheld in accordance with a court-imposed gag order — also took a swipe at US President Barack Obama, whom he called an “Arab,” Hebrew-language media reported Monday.

“I didn’t see a kippa on the head of the fuhrer Reuven Rivlin as he was lighting candles at the Arab’s place in the black house, and I’m convinced that he didn’t utter the blessings for lighting [the candles],” wrote the man, whose son has been held by the Shin Bet security service in recent weeks over his suspected involvement in the attack at the Palestinian village of Duma.

Suspected Jewish extremists torched the Dawabsha family’s home on July 31 while the family slept. Ali Dawabsha, the family’s 18-month old son, died in the attack; his parents, Saad and Riham, succumbed to their injuries in Israeli hospitals later. Five-year-old Ahmed, the sole survivor, is still being treated for severe burns in an Israeli hospital.

Inside the Dawabsha home in Duma. A doll wrapped in a Palestinian flag rests in a stroller to honor Ali. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
Inside the Dawabsha home in Duma. A doll wrapped in a Palestinian flag rests in a stroller to honor Ali. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Rivlin lit Hanukkah candles with Obama at the White House last week. Pictures of the event showed him wearing a white kippa during the ceremony.

Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)
Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)

“But even if he did wear a kippa and uttered the blessings,” the suspect’s father continued, “it was the greatest act of malicious hypocrisy in the history of the Jewish people, to my mind.”

He went on to call Rivlin the “most pathetic president in Israel’s history” and blamed the government for “turning the victim into a criminal killer.”

“And yes, I hate your president,” he wrote in reference to Rivlin, “just as much as I hate every state institution in the most anti-Semitic country in the world.”

Right-wing activists have been critical of security forces for their methods of interrogating the suspects whose identities, along with other details of the case, have yet to be cleared for publication.

The suspects, all of whom were arrested by the Shin Bet within the last month, have been denied legal counsel since the time of their arrest on the recommendation of the Shin Bet, which says it would obstruct the ongoing investigation and possibly thwart additional arrests of suspects believed to be involved in the incident.

The three appealed the decision to Supreme Court, arguing they did not pose a risk to the public or to the ongoing investigation, but Justice Salim Jubran on Sunday ruled to uphold the ban.

“The overall picture presented in the classified information, and the fact that two of the suspects are minors, does not tip the scales at this time toward allowing them a meeting with their [legal] representatives,” Jubran wrote in his ruling, citing the “severity of the crimes attributed to the appellants, coupled with concerns of disrupting the investigation or thwarting additional arrests.”

Israeli officials had been criticized for some time for failing to arrest any suspects in the deadly attack, which drew local and international condemnation, with some alleging a double standard in the state’s handling of cases involving Jewish and Palestinian terror.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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