Israeli-Arab Islamic Chief Indicted For Incitement, Blood Libel

Israeli-Arab Islamist Chief Sheikh Ra’ad Salah was indicted Tuesday for incitement to violence and his endorsement of the medievel blood libel.

Ezra HaLevi ,

Sheikh Salah
Sheikh Salah

Israeli-Arab Islamist Chief Sheikh Ra’ad Salah was indicted Tuesday for incitement to violence and racism during a fiery speech he gave that was followed by rioting last year.

The indictment was filed Monday by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. Salah, who heads the northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement,  made the speech during a protest last year against Israel’s reconstruction of the collapsed ramp leading up to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate of the Temple Mount, adjacent to the Western Wallr.

The February 16, 2007 speech accused Israel of murdering Arabs, with assertions that IDF officers’ ranks are made from the skulls of dead Arab “martyrs” and even asserting that medieval European blood libels were true. Salah boasted that Muslims do not mix blood with their post-Ramadan bread and advised his followers to research how the Jews used the blood of gentile children to make matzah for Passover, one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards which has led to the death of many Jews in blood libels.

The crowd at the protest cheered its approval of Salah’s claims, declaring that they would fight and die for the Temple Mount. Almost immediately after the speech, a riot broke out, with Arabs hurling rocks at Israeli police officers, wounding at least three.

Salah has refused to recant and in the past has rejected Israel’s authority to try him. He has served time for raising money for the Islamist terror group Hamas, which now rules Gaza.

His lawyer told Israel Radio that Israel is trying to keep his boss away from Jerusalem and the Al-Aksa Mosque and said he was considering turning to an international court instead.

A similar sentiment was expressed just days ago, when Mazuz announced that the police who responded to Israeli-Arab rioting with live ammunition in October, 2000 will not be prosecuted.

Druze Activist Offers to Testify Against Salah
Mandi Sfadi, chairman of the Druze for Israel Forum, wrote a letter praising the Attorney General for the indictment of Salah and offering to provide testimony at the Islamist leader's trial.

While calling Mazuz “brave” for his decision, Sfadi reminded him of a previous petition by the Druze activist calling for the outlawing of Salah's Islamic Movement. According to Sfadi, the group is involved in terrorism, incitement against the state of Israel, and the promotion of hatred of the Jewish religion.

In his letter to Mazuz, Sfadi wrote:

“In the context of the Forum of Druze for Israel, I research the issues of terrorism, Islam and the relations between Israel and its Arab citizens. During the course of this research, I could not ignore the central role played by Ra'ad Salah in the worsening relations between Jews and Arabs, the ongoing incitement that he spreads by way of articles appearing in the Movement's website, Sawt al-Haq wal-Hurriyeh, and additional Movement websites.”

Describing his reaction to Salah's incitement, Sfadi wrote, “I found myself tensely following Salah's every statement or publication or action.” The activist said that he has thus accumulated a large amount of evidence “that can help you prove the accusations against him, and even add new charges to the indictment that was filed.” Sfadi concluded by asking Mazuz to include him as a witness for the prosecution, in which capacity he could present the material he has collected.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz contributed to this report.