Daily Israel Report

Left-Wing Journalists Accused of 'Incitement to Murder'

Town of Yitzhar mounts 'fightback', submits complaints against journalists who called on IDF to kill or let Arabs kill 'settlers.'
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/8/2014, 8:21 PM

Yitzhar representative at Ariel police station
Yitzhar representative at Ariel police station
Yoni Kempinski

The community of Yitzhar in Samaria, which has found itself in the media spotlight following clashes between the IDF and a violent element in the community last month, is mounting a "fightback" against what local residents say is a campaign of incitement and character assassination by left-wing media outlets against the town.

In particular, Yitzhar residents submitted a complaint to the police over incitement to murder against two prominent journalists, including publicist Eyal Levi.

In the complaint against Levi, a quote made by him last month was cited, in which he recommended an "original" way to get rid of the "Yitzhar extremists."

"Why not do this to the extremists from Yitzhar? Let the military people, who are there for days and nights to watch over that group, put some of them in the adjacent Arab village and leave them there without even signaling with the blinker. Gathering the bones the next day will be on them," Levi said in the quote.

Yitzhar spokesperson Ezri Tuvi remarked "the truth is we're in a big problem. A simple internet search reveals hundreds of expressions of hate and incitement against the settler public."

"Some of them call directly for using weapons, some of them recommend that the Arabs solve the problem of the settlers," noted Tuvi.

The second journalist whom Yitzhar complained about was ex-MK Uri Avneri, who has a history of extreme statements against the "settlers." The complaint cites an interview by Avneri from 2011, when he called on the IDF to kill Jews in Judea and Samaria.

"If IDF soldiers accidentally killed Arabs, then let them accidentally kill settlers," stated Avneri at the time, calling for Jews in the region to be killed every time a local Arab is killed.

'Fighting fire with fire'

The new Yitzhar initiative appears to be a case of fighting fire with fire, after a 22-year-old pregnant woman from the community was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of incitement.

The woman had made statements on a private local internet forum expressing support for throwing rocks against Jews in certain situations, even if it led to the death of soldiers. Arutz Sheva discovered Wednesday that police had learned of the message over two weeks ago, and only acted because of a threat to leak the story by daily news site Yediot Aharonot.

"The media hypocrisy against us reeks to high heaven," remarked Tuvi. "They put all of us on the gallows because of two youths who wrote their faulty opinions on an internal community forum, while on the other hand 'people of culture' and academics from the left enjoy immunity by the media as they pour their foul sewage on the settlers."

The two were immediately removed from the forum following the incident, but left-wing media outlets still took the opportunity to pillory the wider community.

A recap of events

Yitzhar's situation reached a crisis point in mid-April, when a house was destroyed by the IDF, sparking tire-slashings of two IDF cars. In response, four local homes were demolished, triggering clashes with local youths and the destruction of an IDF outpost.

Following the clashes, Yitzhar's Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva was temporarily seized and then reopened with limited access.

There have been several arrests, aside from the incitement case. One Yitzhar woman in April claimed that police treated her severely, confining her and depriving her of her rights for hours under cruel conditions, after she was arrested on trumped-up charges.

Last week, another woman was arrested with her husband because their car was the same model as one allegedly used in a "price tag" vandalism crime. The two reported abuse in detention, as officers told them "you will never see your kids again," and claimed they were deprived of legal representation initially.