December 24, 2015
Senior Israeli politicians and religious figures have condemned an incendiary video showing a hall packed full of Jewish extremist teenagers cheering the death of a Palestinian toddler murdered in an anti-Palestinian hate crime earlier this year.
<p>The video – which shows the teenagers <a href="https://youtu.be/dfkd0r1yY10" name="in%20body%20link">dancing with guns and firebombs and stabbing a picture of Ali Dawabshe</a>, who died with his parents in an arson attack on their home this summer – was filmed at a wedding three weeks ago and obtained by an Israeli television channel. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, immediately condemned its “shocking images”, which he said displayed “the real face of a group that poses danger to Israeli society and security”.</p><p>The emergence of the video follows <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/03/israel-arrests-members-of-jewish-terror-group-over-west-bank-arson-attack" name="in%20body%20link">accusations by far-right Israelis that three Jewish extremists arrested by Israeli security service the Shin Bet</a> for the murder of Ali Dawabshe and his family had been tortured.</p><p>It dramatises the deep and growing problems that Israel faces with a small and violent extremist sector that has perpetrated so-called <a href="http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Smoke-bomb-thrown-at-Palestinian-house-during-suspected-price-tag-attack-438031" name="in%20body%20link">“price tag” attacks</a> on Palestinians, members of the Israeli security forces and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/18/catholic-church-multiplication-israel-damaged-possible-arson-attack" name="in%20body%20link">targeted Christian churches.</a></p><p>The video – broadcast by Channel 10 news on Wednesday night – was filmed at the wedding of a couple described only as being “very well known in the radical right” who are reportedly friends of those suspected of the Dawabshe murders.</p><p>The Dawabshe arson murders, and delays in solving the case have contributed to the outbreak of the worst Palestinian street violence in years.</p><p>Almost daily stabbings, shootings and car-rammings by Palestinians have killed 20 Israelis and a US citizen since October. Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 121 Palestinians, 72 of whom authorities described as assailants, while others died in clashes with security forces. </p><p>According to reports, the groom had been arrested and questioned in the past by the Shin Bet for alleged involvement in Jewish terrorism, but was subsequently released.</p><p>The footage shows guests dancing a traditional wedding dance, some of them armed with guns and knives. One masked youth brandishes a molotov cocktail while another is seen stabbing a photograph of Ali Dawabshe.</p><p>Guests also sing: “Let me with one blow get revenge on the Palestinians for my two eyes.”</p><p>According to the Channel 10 report, Israeli defence force rifles and pistols were passed around at the reception, including to children.</p><p>“Those kids were literally awash with hatred,” recounted one guests at the wedding. “I’ve attended these kinds of weddings for several years, and those songs repeat themselves – but the weapons and the punctured photograph of the toddler Ali Dawabshe were a real crossing of a red line.”</p><p>Underlining the intimate connections between those suspected of the Dawabshe murder and the wedding guests, it was also revealed that an hour before the wedding and filming took place, the lawyers representing the murder suspects had held a press conference in the same function hall, but the scene changed drastically at the wedding.</p><p>Joining Netanyahu in condemning the behaviour depicted were a number of senior political and religious figures.</p><p>The Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog, wrote on Twitter: “You miserable people, you’ve forgotten what it is to be Jews. You disgrace your skullcap, your prayer shawl and the name of God. Whoever dances at a wedding and celebrates the murder of a sleeping baby is not Jewish and not Israeli. He should be put behind bars as quickly as possible.”</p><p>The chief rabbi, David Lau, added: “Acts like these are not the way of Judaism. This is a rejection and repudiation of the values of the Jewish people, of the Torah of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/israel" name="auto-linked-tag">Israel</a> and the uniqueness of the Jewish people. Parents and educators must take it upon themselves, along with law enforcement, to do everything possible to prevent this appalling identification with such frightful acts of terrorism and murder.”</p><p>Even MPs associated with the hardline pro-settler right joined in the criticism. “The evil ideology of price tag is not the path of religious Zionism,” said Bezalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home party. “That surreal dance with the picture of the baby who was murdered in his sleep represents a dangerous ideology and a loss of humanity.”</p><p>Israeli newspaper columnists compared those involved to both Hamas and Isis, among them Ariela Ringel-Hoffman in Yedioth Ahronoth. “Jewish gangs of Isis, strictly kosher from the Greater Land of Israel, dancing on the blood,” she wrote. “And they are part of us. An awful and bitter outgrowth – but they are part of us.”</p><p>The video came to light after the wedding, when police confiscated the footage, some of which was shown to prominent rightwing leaders in a meeting convened by the Israeli defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon.</p><p>Underlining the fact that this was not a unique event, the owner of the wedding hall told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth: “The police knew about the wedding and deployed undercover cops who documented everything.</p><p>“There are dozens of these kinds of weddings every month. Every time, after the adults leave, the youngsters remain, the teenagers, and they begin with their dancing and those songs. Sometimes they arrest them afterwards.”</p><p>Israeli police later announced they were investigating people appearing in the video for “numerous and serious offences”, including for being careless with their weapons.</p><p>The video emerged as Israeli forces killed four Palestinian assailants in separate incidents in the West Bank on Thursday. The army said a knife-wielding Palestinian injured two guards near a Jewish settlement and was shot dead, while another Palestinian was shot dead while trying to stab a soldier with a screwdriver, and a third after injuring a soldier in a car-ramming.</p><p>Near Qalandia in the West Bank, Israeli troops carrying out an arrest raid shot two Palestinians who fired at them from within a crowd of rock- and petrol bomb-throwing protesters, the army said. Local medics said a Palestinian was killed and six people were wounded.</p>
Keep reading... Show less