Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken defended his newspaper's decision to publish a cartoon portraying Shas leader Aryeh Deri as a suicide bomber due to his role in advancing the "Supermarket Law", which would forbid businesses from operating on Shabbat.
The cartoon shows Deri, a stern look on his face, approaching a supermarket as he wears an explosive belt. The next frame of the cartoon shows Deri after he has already “activated the belt” and the explosion has caused a “boom” at the scene.
The cartoon earned harsh criticism, yet Schocken remained defiant. "Indeed, Deri is a terrorist with an explosive belt who came to sabotage the secular way of life," tweeted Shochken. "I'm sick of these shows of outrage."
UTJ leader and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman panned the cartoon, which he alleged "crossed the red line into incitement. I was horrified to see that despicable cartoon showing Deri as a suicide bomber." MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin from the left-wing Zionist Union faction also condemned the cartoon, writing that "the cartoon of Deri should not have been published, to say the least".
Haredi journalist Aryeh Erlich slammed the exaggerated criticism, asking Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken in a Tweet, “Have you gone crazy? Have you finally gone completely mad? Showing Deri as a terrorist? How can such an inciting and violent caricature be published in your newspaper? Is there no limit to the vulgarity?”
Haaretz has a long tradition of publishing controversial anti-religious articles. In April columnist Yossi Klien caused an uproar after he slammed the Religious Zionist sector, claiming they are more of a threat than murderous Arab terrorists or the Hezbollah terror movement in Lebanon, which has killed hundreds of Jews worldwide since the 1980s.
"The national religious [public] is dangerous, more dangerous than Hezbollah, more than [terrorist] drivers ramming their cars into people, or girls with scissors. The Arabs can be killed, they cannot, " he wrote.