“A child was killed here,” yelled out Itamar Ben-Gvir at the three Meretz
parliamentarians and activists who toured Hebron on Sunday morning in order to
hear first-hand about the hardships of Palestinians living in the section of the
city under military rule.
But the tour quickly descended into a screaming
match between right-wing and left-wing activists. To drown out the heckling, the
Meretz group burst into song.
Clapping their hands, they walked through
the street singing, “We shall overcome,” and “Sing a song of peace, don’t
whisper a prayer.”
“Arabs and Jews do not have to be enemies,” they
called out, as Hebron settlers at times chanted that extremist Rabbi Meir Kahana
“was right” and played traditional Israeli music.
The tour began quietly
with a visit in the Kiryat Arba settlement to the grave of Baruch Goldstein, who
on February 25, 1995, killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in the Cave of the
Patriarchs in Hebron.
The trouble started when the group got off their
bus in Hebron on Shuhada Street.
Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On
explained that the trip was organized to protest the Education Ministry decision
to bar Breaking the Silence from leading school trips to Hebron.
group, which is made up of former soldiers who served in Hebron, opposes
Israel’s military rule of a portion of the city.
“We respect the work of
Breaking the Silence and believe that pupils should have the right to learn from
them,” she said. “They shouldn’t only have the settlers’
Gal-On also lashed out at the Hebron Jewish
“This is a group that does not recognize the rule of law,” she
“It should have been evacuated years ago,” Gal-On
Even as she spoke, a small number of settlers, including Baruch
Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, surrounded them and began to shout at
“Why don’t you go to Haifa?,” asked Ben- Gvir referencing the
soldiers who were assaulted there on Friday.
“The soldiers there are
waiting for you,” he said.
Ben-Gvir also yelled out that Arabs had killed
Jews in this city.
One Meretz activist cried out in response, “You were a
partner in the murder of [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin.”
activist Mickey Gitzen shouted out, “You support Goldstein.”
said, “Why don’t we hear your voices when Arabs throw stones at Jews?” Marzel
said that Jewish history in the city dated back to the Bible when Abraham
purchased the Cave of the Patriarchs.
In one heated exchange with Marzel,
Meretz party secretary-general Dror Moorage yelled, “You are a
Pointing his finger at him as he screamed, he said, “You are a
terrorist. You are a dangerous man.”
At several points in the hour-long
event, police tried to distance the settlers.
Marzel yelled out, “We have
a right to freedom of expression.”
He added that Jews were not allowed in
the area of the city under Palestinian control.
“This is apartheid,” he
At times, however, settlers did reach out to the
“Does someone here want to drink?” asked Hebron resident Ofer
Ohana as he held up a tray of paper cups filled with soda.
that he wanted to make sure the Meretz group felt that the Hebron residents have
been hospitable to them.
A few activists took him up on the
But one grabbed a cup only to throw the soda in his direction.