The State Prosecutors’ Office has ordered police to investigate a leftist Israeli professor who called for violence against Jewish youth on Jerusalem Day. The rare decision to investigate a figure on the political left for incitement to violence follows four months in which prosecutors received multiple complaints over the professor’s comments.
Professor Eyal Nir, who teaches chemistry at Ben-Gurion University, wrote on his Facebook page, “I call on the world to come and help break these disgusting peoples’ necks.” The comment was made regarding youth who danced in the streets of Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day.
Following criticism of his post, Nir wrote that he was referring primarily to “a gang of a few dozen thugs who shouted ‘death to Arabs’ in Arabic,” while in an Arab neighborhood and that “any reasonable person who seeks peace and justice” would support him in calling to “prevent them from carrying out their threats.”
When criticism continued, Nir issued an apology. “I made a mistake, that was poor wording,” he said, adding, “I am committed to the principle of non-violence.”
Those who called to investigate Nir said there was reason for concern that his remarks could have led to violence. Jews have often been targeted for violent attack in Jerusalem, noted MK Uri Ariel, making Nir’s call to attack a real threat.
Several also noted the discrepancy between police treatment of Nir, and that of rabbis who gave their approbation to the book Torat HaMelech.