Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is under fire by right-wingers for a Facebook post in which he condemned the killing of Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha in a fatal firebomb attack on Friday in the West Bank and said he felt “shame” that the killers came from “my own people.”
Rivlin has made restoring relations between different segments of Israeli society a key issue of his presidency and has been criticized several times in the past by right-wing constituents. The conciliatory tone of the president, who was a Knesset member of the right-wing Likud for decades, has often earned him the label of “traitor,” “leftist” and “bleeding heart” on the far-right.
But comments on his most recent post regarding the death of Dawabsha escalated to genuine threats.
Among posts praising the president for his humanism, including some in Arabic asking him to leverage the “great respect” he enjoys in Arab Israeli society to help “end the occupation,” some posters said he will “come to an end worse than Ariel Sharon,” who became comatose in 2006 after suffering a stroke while serving as prime minister.
“You bloody loser, your end will be worse than Ariel Sharon’s, you will see. I pray that another ‘Yigal Amir’ will rise to cleanse you and the Arabs from our Jewish country, and so I wish you ill health and any other suffering,” one poster wrote.
Yigal Amir assassinated prime minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1995.
“You sold your soul to the devil,” another message read, adding: “my children saw me taking your picture off the wall [of my house] and asked why. I politely explained that you resigned and are no longer part of the Jewish people. You signal a green light to hurting the Jewish people. You have been disqualified!”
Rivlin, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not shy away from labeling the perpetrators who set fire to the house of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma as terrorists.
Among the more measured responses to his Facebook post, many felt ill at ease with his phrase “my people have chosen the path of terror,” saying it was a generalizing phrase staining the entire Jewish nation when the perpetrators are a few extremists.
“Our people did not choose terrorism – it is only a few among us who have chosen terrorism, please respect the office you hold,” wrote one poster.
Read more at Times of Israel.