According to members of Justice Minister Tzippy Livni's Hatnua party, the act of spitting could be a prelude to political murder.
An incident in which a youth spat on Hatnua MK and former IDF Education Corps head Elazar Stern over the weekend has provided the party with fodder for accusations of political murder against those associated with the right, and in particular supporters of Bayit Yehudi.
The 17-year-old was arrested Friday on suspicion of spitting at Stern as the parliamentarian was leaving the synagogue in the Lower Galilee community of Mitzpeh Hoshaya. The incident occurred against the backdrop of a Knesset speech by MK Stern Wednesday in which he claimed that Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba said that Ethiopian immigrants are not Jews.
The youth, in a near-tearful confession, said in a radio interview that he had not intended to spit at Stern, but that when he thought of the MK's insult to Rabbi Dov Lior, whom Stern had accused of being a racist and not accepting Ethiopian Jews as full Jews, he had an emotional response, which he immediately regretted. "I tried to stop myself but it was too late," the youth said.
Speaking Sunday, MK Orit Struk said that if anyone had done any spitting in the incident, it was Stern, who spat in the face of Rabbi Lior. “Elazar Stern needs to ask Rabbi Lior for forgiveness for defaming him baselesly in a way that contradicts the truth and reality,” Struk said in an interview.
But the fact that members of the right have not condemned the youth sufficiently will only encourage further acts of violence, verbal and otherwise, said Livni.
“Those who do not condemn such an act against a top IDF officer are not our 'brothers,' not a part and parcel of our nation,” she said. “We will continue to act in the manner that we believe in, according to the values that we believe in,” she said.
That encouragement of violence, said Hatunua MK Amram Mitzna, could lead Stern, Livni, or others to pay the ultimate price.
“This youth spat not only in MK Stern's face, but in all our faces. This was a disgusting and cowardly act, and one that incites violence. I suggest that we all remember where these 'wild weeds' come from.” Mitzna used an expression that was popular after the murder of Rabin, in which youths with right-wing political views were accused of inciting the violence that led to Rabin's murder, implying that the same thing could happen again.