Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating
On Saturday, the chief of Israel’s domestic security service issued a rare warning of probable violence at one of the country’s most highly tense periods in decades, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader, on the verge of being deposed.
After Israel’s centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that he had succeeded in creating a governing coalition following a March 23 election, Netanyahu’s 12-year reign as prime minister could come to an end.
The new administration, which has yet to be sworn in, is an unexpected mix of left-wing, liberal, right-wing, nationalist, and religious parties, as well as an Arab Islamist party for the first time in Israel’s history.
Netanyahu has warned that the alliance is a “dangerous leftist administration” in a series of online posts.
Some right-wing groups are furious with Naftali Bennett, the leader of a small ultra-nationalist party that is set to succeed Netanyahu in a power-sharing deal with Lapid, prompting a flurry of social media attacks on him.
Bennett vowed prior to the election that he would not form a government with the centrist Lapid or any Arab party.
“We have recently observed a rise in increasingly extreme violent and inciteful rhetoric, particularly on social networks,” said Nadav Argaman, the Shin Bet security force’s commander, without naming any individuals.
“This rhetoric could be construed by certain groups or individuals as allowing violent and criminal conduct, which could even result in physical injury,” he said.
Bennett’s security has been beefed up since he announced his alliance with Lapid, with right-wing demonstrations organised near the homes of his party members in an attempt to prevent them from entering the government.
Argaman urged political and religious leaders to take responsibility and refrain from inciting violence. Some in Israel compared his warning to the days preceding up to the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was shot by a Jewish ultra-nationalist for seeking a land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians in 1995.
For years, Israel’s left has blamed Netanyahu, then the head of the opposition, for his role in the provocation that preceded the assassination. Netanyahu has flatly denied the charge and has condemned Rabin’s assassination on several occasions.
Lapid and Bennett have expressed hope that their “unity government” could mend profound political divides in Israel and put an end to hatred. According to a poll conducted by Israel’s N12 Television’s Meet the Press on Saturday, 46% of Israelis support the Bennett-Lapid government, 38% favour another election – the sixth in nearly two years – and 15% have no opinion.
Tensions are likely to rise even higher this week, when a Jewish right-wing march is planned to pass through the Damascus gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. Last month, Israel and Hamas engaged in 11 days of fierce combat in Gaza, precipitated by Israeli-Palestinian clashes in Jerusalem’s Old City and surrounding areas. On the day the combat broke out, a similar march was performed, with the route being changed at the last minute.
Scuffles broke out on Saturday in the nearby volatile East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where the threatened expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish settlers played a crucial role in the buildup to the most recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
While covering a protest in Israel, Al Jazeera said that one of their reporters, Givara Budeiri, was beaten and arrested by Israeli police.
Buderim allegedly assaulted cops and refused to identify herself, according to a police spokesperson. Budeiri, who was wearing a press vest, was yanked and pushed while being led away by three or four cops, according to footage released online. The reporter’s camera, according to Al Jazeera, was also smashed.
The journalist was released a few hours later, according to Al Jazeera, but was barred from entering Sheikh Jarrah for 15 days.
Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating, Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating, Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating, Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating, Israel domestic security warns of violence as Netanyahu faces unseating