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Provocateur Amir Hetsroni quits Israel

Academic known for derogatory remarks makes good on promise to leave

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Amir Hetsroni on Channel 2's morning show. March 22, 2015. (YouTube screenshot)
Amir Hetsroni on Channel 2's morning show. March 22, 2015. (YouTube screenshot)

He’s left on a jet plane and doesn’t know when — or even if — he’ll be back again. Provocateur Amir Hetsroni, the long-haired overly opinionated academic Israelis love to hate, made good on his promise to leave his native Israel, a country he calls “The North Korea of the Middle East.”

Fans, media, and a whole lot of haters showed up at the departures level of Ben-Gurion airport at 2 a.m. on Sunday to see Hetsroni off to wherever he was going. (Hetsroni refused to reveal on his Facebook page (Hebrew) his destination, but the Mako news outlet reported that he was taking off for Copenhagen).

Based on comments from people at the airport captured on video by a Walla news reporter, it does not seem as though Hetsroni, known for saying hateful things about almost every group within Israel society, and dismissed from his teaching position in the communications department at Ariel University for making insulting comments about female victims of sexual assault, will be missed.

“Die and don’t come back here. They should bury him there—wherever he’s going,” one man at the airport said when asked by a reporter for parting words to Hetsroni.

“Bye, and not see you later,” said a woman.

When the reporter asked people what they had brought as a parting gift for Hetsroni, one man said “a one-way ticket to wherever he’s going…and maybe some chocolate from duty free.” Another simply said, “poison.”

Hetsroni said that when it comes down to it, the reason he is leaving Israel is that he cannot make a living here.

“The fact that the State of Israel is vomiting me out is evidence of Israel’s level of tolerance. Israel is the North Korea of the Middle East. If you express certain opinions, they shut you up,” he said.

“My hatred of Israel is not a secret, and it’s a personal hatred based on what they have done to me here. But if I got an offer that allowed me to express myself, to make a decent living, and fix this country, I would take it and be satisfied by the knowledge that I was safeguarding democracy here.”

Though he may be gone, he hints he’ll still try his best to not be forgotten in his native land.

From a selfie he posted on his Facebook page, it looks like he’s somewhere in northern Europe. And although he doesn’t want to say much about what he’ll be doing there, he does reveal that there will be a common theme to all his future projects. They’ll all have to do with the most virulent anti-Israel propaganda possible.

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