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Gaza Libel-Buster Runs for President

Dr. Yehuda David, who fought to expose Muhammad a-Dura blood libel, wants nation's top office.
By Benny Toker, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/9/2014, 11:55 AM

Dr. Yehuda David
Dr. Yehuda David
Yoni Kempinski

Dr. Yehuda David, who was a key figure in exposing that Gaza Arabs falsely accused Israeli forces of killing a boy in Gaza, is running for president.

David gained fame when he emerged victorious from a libel suit filed against him by the father of Muhammad a-Dura, a Gaza boy who was filmed by a French television during a gun battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian Arab terrorists in the year 2000. The boy was seen losing consciousness in his father's arms and was initially presumed to have died.

After an emotional public funeral, Muhammad was hailed throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds as a martyr. However, an IDF investigation in October 2000 concluded Israeli soldiers "probably did not shoot the a-Duras."

David, who was a physician at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, entered the a-Dura fray in December 2007, when he told Israel's Channel 10 that he had treated Jamal in 1994 for knife and axe wounds to his arms and legs sustained during an Arab gang attack.

David said the scars Jamal claimed as bullet wounds from the 2000 incident were actually scars from a tendon repair operation that David performed in 1994. This led Jamal to sue him for libel. His victory in France's Supreme Court was widely seen as a national victory for Israel.

The doctor also received the IDF Citation of Merit for his courage under fire as a military doctor in the Second Lebanon War.

Dr. David was a candidate for the Jewish Home Knesset list but drew out of the race at the last minute, in late 2012, because he was sick with cancer. He underwent bone marrow transplants in Boston, and recovered after spending a month in quarantine.

"My entire essence" is to contribute to Israel

He told Arutz Sheva that when he was in the hospital quarantine room, he promised himself that if he survives, he will do his best to contribute to the state of Israel – “because that is my entire essence. And there is no more exalted role than this one. I have all the abilities needed to represent Israel in the international arena. After all, I have been doing it for seven years. And of course, to take care of Israel's numerous internal problems as well.”

"There is no reason why the presidency should be reserved to Knesset members,” he opined. “What is wrong with me, a citizen who has given his all for 40 years as a doctor who treats everyone – Jews, Arabs, Bedouin and Circassians, and all in an equal fashion? What is deficient in a person who gave over 30 years as a reserve doctor in the paratroop and reconnaissance units, until age 60, and who entered many places where others would not go, and always came out of it OK – why can't I offer my services to my nation this time, too?”

Dr. David added that he has received encouragement from many quarters, including from Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett and faction chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked.