Bennett physically attacked at Ha'aretz Peace Conference

July 8, 2014 17:41

Economy minister tells 'Post': "I represent a stance shared by millions of people and no one will silence me."

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Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett.. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was allegedly punched in the back by an attendee at the Ha'aretz Peace Conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday.

Bennett had to stop several times during his speech to the conference, as the audience shouted "murderer" and "fascist." "I didn't think this would be a place that supports censorship," he told the crowd.

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"There are people here who agreed to speak to Arafat, but they won't listen to Bennett," Ha'aretz publisher Amos Shocken said, taking the stage in an attempt to quiet the crowd.

When Bennett left the stage, dozens of people ran toward him. Some were removed from the room by his bodyguards.

However, one person managed to get close to the Bayit Yehudi leader and punched him in the back.

Bennett whirled around and shouted "Who hit me?" and his bodyguards whisked him from the room.

After the incident, Bennett told The Jerusalem Post: "I represent a stance shared by millions of people and no one will silence me." A Bayit Yehudi spokesman said the party is shocked and distressed by the attack on Bennett.

"Cries of 'murderer' from the crowd and censorship that turned into physical violence and unforgivable in Israeli politics," the spokesman said. "We expect those on right and left who care about freedom of expression to come out against this act. We will never be silent and never stop saying our stance, whatever it may be."

Also Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Ministry's security officer filed a complaint to the police and Shin Bet after Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz received death threats on his Facebook wall.

After Peretz visited the family of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was murdered by Israelis last week, hundreds of people wrote on his Facebook wall, calling him a traitor and saying he should die.

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