Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Nationalist Leaders Call Amos Oz on Live Radio

Ben-Ari and Ben-Gvir call writer who said 'price tag' vandals are 'neo-Nazis' on live broadcast, get his wife on the phone.
By Orli Harari, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/16/2014, 3:04 PM

Itamar Ben-Gvir (left), Michael Ben-Ari
Itamar Ben-Gvir (left), Michael Ben-Ari
Flash 90

Famous writer Amos Oz sparked controversy by calling Jewish "price tag" vandals "neo-Nazis" last Friday. While the comments have sparked a police complaint over "incitement to racism," some nationalist leaders decided to confront Oz directly.

Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir called Oz's cell phone during their weekly Friday radio broadcast entitled "Okfim Miyamin (Bypassing from the Right)," which airs on Israel Radio (Galei Yisrael).

The call was picked up by Oz's wife Nili, who refused to put Amos on the phone, claiming they currently had guests at their home, saying "we have guests and we respect our guests."

Ben-Gvir responded "we just want to talk with Amos about his statements that the 'Hilltop Youth' are criminal neo-Nazis," with Ben-Ari adding "it was a very important statement by Amos."

"I don't say it wasn't, but we have friends and we respect them," insisted Nili, refusing to let them speak with her husband.

"Do these friends happen to be (Marwan) Barghouti? Because for example, about Barghouti he spoke with great appreciation," asked Ben-Gvir, referencing an Arab arch-terrorist currently jailed in Israel, who previously received an autographed copy of one of Oz's books directly from the author.

"Nili, answer us," urged Ben-Gvir, at which point she hung up after saying "I don't have anything to answer you."

Oz has been sharply criticized for his comments, including by writer and satirist Tal Gilad, whose father is a famous Holocaust survivor. On Sunday, Gilad wrote on Facebook "the word 'Nazi,' or – in the form that is considered somehow softer – 'neo-Nazi', is too often used...because people like you (Oz), who blurt it out freely, are unable of fathoming the depth of horror of Nazism."

"You, Amos Oz, may think you are a man of letters, but you are an ignorant boor. ...Too bad there is no time machine for sending you and your friends, whose fingers are so light on the keyboard, to Auschwitz for one day. It will suffice. One day in hell. And after that, open your mouth, which is willing to say any stupid thing for the Nobel Prize, and talk about Nazis and neo-Nazis," added Gilad.

Ben-Ari and Ben-Gvir's call, in Hebrew, can be heard here: