Second Arab Youth Threatened for Supporting Abducted Teens
The outpouring of public support in Israel for the three students kidnapped by terrorists is reverberating even among the country's Arab minority - pitting young moderate voices against established currents of anti-Zionist extremism within their community.
The issue hit headlines after it was revealed that relatives of young Nazareth resident Mohammed Zoabi were arrested after planning to abduct him over his Facebook video Saturday, in which he expressed support for the three Jewish youths abducted by Hamas.
Now another Zionist Arab 17-year-old is facing similar death threats for doing the same thing.
The unnamed Arab youth from the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm uploaded a picture of himself to Facebook, in which he can be seen with a large Israeli flag and a sign reading "#Bring Back Our Boys" with a Jewish Star of David on it.
Speaking to Yedioth Aharonoth on Wednesday, the youth said he has submitted a complaint to Israeli police over the flood of death threats he has received in the wake of the post. An investigation has been opened by the police.
Anonymous users responded to the Facebook post with threats, such as "we want to murder you," "you can't be left alive," "you're a traitor," and "you shouldn't go out in Umm al-Fahm."
Since the threats, the youth fears for his life to the point where he has stopped attending school, saying "I'm even afraid to leave the house."
Umm al-Fahm has a reputation as a hotbed of Arab extremism, and Jewish nationalists have occasionally staged provocative marches in the town in protest, sometimes clashing with residents.
"I call for the return of the kidnapped youths. That path won't bring peace, it only destroys the process. The Arab society has to understand us and respect our position."
"Hanin Zoabi destroys Jewish-Arab relations"
The youth was asked about anti-Zionist Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), who justified the kidnapping Tuesday while insulting her young relative Mohammed Zoabi over his statements.
"I think that with her words she destroys the relations between Arabs and Jews," the Arab youth said of Zoabi, echoing sentiments made earlier Wednesday by Israeli Opposition head Yitzhak Herzog. "We want representatives in the Knesset who will speak professionally and not destructively. I call on Zoabi to say she represents only herself and not the Arab society in Israel."
"I'm against the kidnapping and there are a lot of Arab citizens of Israel who support the state of Israel and the peace process," he added.
Speaking about Mohammed Zoabi, the youth opined he "it's his opinion and they don't need to pounce on him like he did something serious."
Zoabi addressed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the video, saying: “To Bibi and his entire government, I say – wake up and stop cooperating with terrorists. The Palestinian Authority is the biggest terrorist."
"On the day before yesterday, these three youths were abducted,” he continued, “and tomorrow it could be me, you or any other Israeli – Arab or Jewish. I am an Israeli and will remain an Israeli. Israel will remain a Jewish and democratic country." He concluded with the traditional Jewish salutation, "Am Yisrael chai.”
On Tuesday, he took to social media to thank the outpouring of support for his message, but stated that he has received a "large number of death threats" and will now be keeping a low profile.