Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) wrote a scathing letter to Haaretz publisher Amos Shocken Sunday, expressing outrage at a headline in the newspaper calling the IDF “The Israel Massacre Forces.”In the column of Haaretz editorial board member Gideon Levy, he wrote that “the shooting on the Gaza border shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes” and “there’s nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood.”Levy complained that Palestinians who returned fire at Israeli soldiers were termed “terrorists” by the IDF Spokesman’s Unit, and accused Israelis of being brainwashed and “enthusing the mass murder of Egyptian babies” at their Passover Seders, referring to the 10th plague: the killing of the Egyptian firstborn.Erdan, whose ministry fights efforts to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, accused Levy of adopting the narrative of Hamas, comparing the column to the antisemitic blood libels of Jews during Passover. He said Shocken’s father and grandfather, who bequeathed the paper to him, would be ashamed to find out that an antisemitic headline was printed and circulated in English to the world.
“Are you not ashamed of [the headline], Mr. Shocken?” Erdan asked. “You know very well that if the Hamas terrorists tried to harm the Egyptian side of the border (or any other country) many more Hamas people would have been killed by massive, undirected firing and not by accurate snipers.”Erdan said that despite the impression of the column, the soldiers and their officers were “the most moral and just” and they are supported by the Israeli Right and Left.Likud MK Yoav Kisch, who is an IDF pilot, wrote Levy a letter saying that his headline would be used by the worst of Israel’s enemies and that “your lies will not win.”Meanwhile, Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg’s calls for an investigation of the IDF’s handling of the border with Gaza over the weekend continued to evoke outrage from across the political spectrum.Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman accused Zandberg of hypocrisy and said “Meretz long ago stopped representing the Israeli interest. Labor MK Eitan Cabel said Zandberg’s call for a probe made him angrier than he had been in years and said it was “shameful, ridiculous, and pathetic.”Zandberg also faced anonymous criticism from some Meretz officials, who told Israel Radio that Zandberg was wrong to take an extreme position and attribute it to the party as a whole. The officials said she did so in order to distract from her consultations with controversial strategist Moshe Klughaft.Meretz and left-wing organizations sponsored a rally against the Gaza escalation Sunday night outside the Likud’s headquarters in Tel Aviv.The right-wing organization Im Tirtzu asked Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit on Sunday to investigate Zandberg and others who called for probes of the IDF for “incitement and encouraging terror.”
UN condemns Israel after over 15 Palestinian casualties in Gaza Land Day protests, March 31, 2018 (Reuters)