'Anti-Semitic Tiberias mayor needs to be institutionalized'

National Union MK calls mayor of Tiberias 'anti-Semitic' after he declared 'war' on haredi community. 'He needs to be institutionalized.'

David Rosenberg,

Ron Kobi
Ron Kobi

National Union chairman and Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich condemned Tiberias Mayor Ron Kobi on Thursday, after the recently-elected mayor released a video message this week, declaring “war” on Israel’s haredi community.

Kobi, who was elected last October, has clashed with the haredi community repeatedly, following his decision to provide free public transportation on the Sabbath – violating Israel’s long-standing Status Quo on religion and state.

Days after his election, Kobi stormed into a local haredi synagogue, tearing down signs put up against him by the congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach.

The former oil businessman-turned-politician gained notoriety for his confrontational, even combative behavior before the election, and was once arrested for threatening a former Tiberias mayor.

Last year, Kobi narrowly defeated incumbent mayor Yosef Ben-David, running on a staunchly anti-haredi platform, vowing to prevent a ‘haredi takeover’ of the city.

“The haredim are 22% of Tiberias today. They must not be allowed to become more than 30%.”

This week, Kobi again sparked controversy after he uploaded a video to his Twitter account declaring “war” on the haredi community, and calling for action to be taken against secular “collaborators”

“We’ve started a war. This is a war over this city. This is a war over our way of life. This is a war against religious coercion in the State of Israel.”

“They [the haredim] drained this town in a concerted, planned effort. And they have people collaborating with them. The people who do business with them – people within our midst. We have to throw these [collaborators] out now already. All you realtors who sell them real estate… you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

“All of the transportation companies make millions…ferrying them around in limousines and taking their kids back and forth at our expense. This is war. If you don’t wake up to that fact, within a year, you won’t be able to live here.”

In response to Kobi’s rant, MK Smotrich called the Tiberias mayor “anti-Semitic”, and suggested that he may need to be forcibly institutionalized in a mental hospital.

“Unbelievable. Let’s put aside the fact that he seems like a person who needs to be involuntarily institutionalized. Aside from that, there is an anti-Semitic mayor in the State of Israel who continues to hold his position and receive a paycheck from the state. Where is the Attorney General? Oh, right, he’s too busy trying to ban Michael Ben-Ari,” referring to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s recommendation that Otzma candidate Michael Ben-Ari be barred from running for the Knesset.