Joint List says Netanyahu inciting death threats against party leaders
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Joint List says Netanyahu inciting death threats against party leaders

Ayman Odeh asks for protection after photoshopped image of him in Islamic Jihad fatigues is shared on Twitter

Hadash-Ta'al chairman Ayman Odeh speaks at a demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, outside the Tel Aviv Museum on May 25, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Hadash-Ta'al chairman Ayman Odeh speaks at a demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, outside the Tel Aviv Museum on May 25, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

Israel’s top Arab lawmaker, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, has asked the Knesset Guard for extra security after a photo of him in the uniform of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was circulated online.

The party, an alliance of four mostly Arab factions, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of incitement that had caused death threats to one of its members, likely referring to those posts.

In the letter, sent on Friday, Odeh complained about a fringe far-right Twitter page called “Hadashot Emet” (“True News”) which on Thursday posted a photoshopped image of him in a Quds Force — the armed wing of Islamic Jihad — uniform accompanying a tweet slamming the Blue and White party for considering a minority government backed by the Joint List.

“The left still doesn’t understand the danger of Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters in the Israeli Knesset and want a narrow government with them,” the post said.

The page has since re-posted the photo, alongside a similarly altered image of fellow Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, attacking both Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

The posts “are aimed at presenting [Odeh] as someone who is part of the ranks of public enemies and thus inciting physical violence against him,” Odeh wrote in his letter to Knesset security, interim police chief Motti Cohen, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

“History has taught us that such images have the power to lead to political murder,” he added, likely referring to photos of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, photos of whom in Nazi SS uniform were distributed in the lead-up to his 1995 assassination by a Jewish extremist.

“Therefore, I demand that the issue not be taken lightly, be thoroughly investigated, with the culprits located and strict action taken against them,” he said. “Additionally, I ask to weigh the necessary steps to be taken under these circumstances to protect MK Odeh,” he continued.

He did not refer to the threats against Tibi.

In a statement Sunday, the Joint List assailed Netanyahu, who in recent days stepped up his warnings of a “dangerous” and “insane” minority government supported by Odeh’s Joint List.

Netanyahu is slated to lead an “emergency” Likud rally Sunday evening which is bill as aimed at stopping a “dangerous” minority government backed by the Joint List.

“Over the last days, Netanyahu has crossed every red line in his dangerous and wild incitement against us,” the Joint List statement said. “He is peddling lies and claiming our lawmakers support terror. The Arab population and its representatives are legitimate like any other population.”

“We ask President Reuven Rivlin and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to take a stand against the incitement, which has led to dozens of death threats against our member.”

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