Family says wedding was hijacked by extremists

As storm erupts over dance by extremists seemingly celebrating Duma arson, groom's parents say their wedding was hijacked.

Tags: Duma Arson
Ari Soffer ,

Israeli police inspect site of Duma arson
Israeli police inspect site of Duma arson

The parents of the groom whose wedding featured a controversial dance, during which Jewish extremists appeared to celebrate the deadly Duma arson while waving weapons, has claimed he did not see the dance in question, and that if he had he would have ejected those involved from the wedding.

Groom Yakir Eshbal's parents both said they were far away when a group of youths broke off from the main celebration and began the dance. Police have now opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

"We were far from the area where they were dancing - I was with my guests, the adults," father Shahar Eshbal told Channel 2. "Only later on they told me about a particular dance during one specific song."

"I saw from a distance that they were holding up photos. I said maybe they were photos of the detainees (in the Duma case), or Jewish victims of terrorism," he added, saying he had absolutely no idea the picture was in fact that of Ali Dawabshe, the Palestinian infant killed in the arson. "It didn't occur to me that that was going on there.

"If I would have known, I would have thrown them out," he said of the extremists who held the poster.

"We weren't aware of everything," he continued. "If we would have known, we would have stopped everything there (and then). I would have got up on the stage and said that this was not done with our agreement and that we totally oppose all this."

The father also noted that those scenes only occurred during one particular song, "zochreini na," which recalls the Biblical Samson's suicide while in Philistine captivity, in which he took his cruel captors with him. The song is sometimes played at Jewish weddings due to its message of defiance and Jewish heroism, he noted, particularly in difficult times when Israel is under attack.

He said his son was extremely upset when he saw the images on TV.

"Yakir has only just begun his life and he's been drawn into this massive turmoil, like the rest of us," he lamented, accusing some people he "didn't even know" of hijacking the event. "He wants is trying too distance (himself) from the whole issue... he said he wasn't aware of what was going on and he didn't do anything. He just wants some quiet."

"Yakir said to me, 'Dad, I don't know where these people came from... I don't know them'. And it all happened at the end of the (wedding)... I saw 100-150 people as opposed to the roughly 50 friends who Yakir invited," he added.

His son had been briefly involved with a bad crowd, he acknowledged, but "in the past year he avoided that group."

"We are law-abiding, we serve in the IDF and always give to the State. I have never educated in the way of hatred...

"They have caused great damage to our family, we have really been hurt by this. We are mainstream people, cultured people - we've never had any connection to this kind of thing."