The police decided on Monday that MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) will be assigned a personal bodyguard and will be under tight security in the wake of recent incidents surrounding controversial remarks he made.
MK Stern has been widely criticized in the religious-Zionist community in recent weeks after accusing Rabbi Dov Lior of racism against Ethiopian Jews. Rabbi Lior’s supporters said the accusation was completely unfounded, and accused Stern of libel.
The affair began when Stern told the Knesset that Rabbi Dov Lior does not believe Ethiopian Israelis are Jewish, and that at a recent Torah class he warned his listeners against marrying them.
Rabbi Dov Lior’s supporters say his words were taken out of context. A recent letter from Rabbi Dov Lior’s attorney to MK Stern similarly accused Stern of twisting his words.
After Stern’s claims in the Knesset, a 17-year-old spat in his face as the parliamentarian was leaving the synagogue in the Lower Galilee community of Mitzpeh Hoshaya. The youth has since apologized to members of his community - but not to MK Stern himself.
Members of Stern’s party have claimed that the spitting could be a prelude to political murder. These claims, coupled with a petition calling for Stern’s resignation in which he was labeled a “heretic”, are what led police to decide on the increased security for Stern.
Stern’s daughter told Channel 10 News in an interview on Sunday that she was “troubled and worried” about what could happen to her father.
Stern has declared that he would be willing to remove his parliamentary immunity and allow Rabbi Lior to sue him for slander.