Police arrest 2 revelers caught on ‘hate wedding’ video

Suspects held over role in celebration of Duma killings; court orders release of one suspect detained in connection with attack

File: Far-right Israeli wedding-goers celebrate the killings of the Dawabsha family, brandishing rifles and calling for revenge against Palestinians, December 2015. (screen capture: Channel 10)
File: Far-right Israeli wedding-goers celebrate the killings of the Dawabsha family, brandishing rifles and calling for revenge against Palestinians, December 2015. (screen capture: Channel 10)

Two people were arrested Tuesday in connection with the “wedding of hate” where right-wing activists were filmed celebrating the Duma firebombing attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family, police said.

Initial reports suggested that only one suspect was brought in for questioning, but a police spokesperson told The Times of Israel that a second person was also picked up for involvement in the event, in which wedding-goers danced with guns, knives and a mock Molotov cocktail.

The two Israelis are suspected of having committed the crimes of incitement and the illegal possession of a firearm, as well as having violated restraining orders against entering the West Bank and Jerusalem, police said.

Footage released last week 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 the wedding of other activists. The images in the clip sparked wide condemnation.

The video, aired by Channel 10, also showed revelers holding a photo of baby Ali Dawabsha, who was burned to death in the July 31 firebombing, and repeatedly stabbing the picture.

The crowd in the video chanted 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.

One of the suspects arrested Tuesday is a resident of the West Bank settlement of Tapuah, Israeli reports said. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

The groom, who is reportedly friends with the Jewish extremists detained in connection with the firebombing attack, said Thursday he was unaware of the celebrations of the murder at his wedding.

“I didn’t even see it. At my wedding I was in the clouds, not on the ground at all,” Yakir Ashbal told Channel 10.

He called the footage “shocking,” but insisted that “there were about 600 people at my wedding, and this wasn’t something I agreed to. There were a million people. I don’t control what happens at my wedding. I’m just the groom; I didn’t even pay for the photographer or the singer.”

The video drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, though some right-wing lawmakers accused security officials of leaking the clip to demonize Jewish extremists being investigated over the Duma firebombing.

Also Tuesday the Lod District Court rejected a state appeal and ordered the release of one of the suspects held in connection with the Duma firebombing, Channel 2 news reported.

The suspect, who was in Shin Bet custody for 30 days, is set to be indicted for an assault two years ago on a Palestinian youth.

Only one member of the Dawabsha family — Ahmed, now 5 — survived the Duma 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.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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