Rivlin: Ugly incitement against Arab citizens must end

18 NGOS to Rivlin: Denounce Netanyahu’s racist remarks against Arabs

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN gestures to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President’s Residence on Wednesday. (photo credit: REUTERS)
PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN gestures to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President’s Residence on Wednesday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Reuven Rivlin spoke out strongly on Tuesday night against recent comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others against Arab Knesset members and the Arab public.

At the conclusion of his meeting with the prime minister, Rivlin said that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and we “must ensure equality of rights and respectful and meaningful discourse with all Israelis.”

Earlier this week, Netanyahu said at a rally broadcast on TV that Knesset members from the Arab Joint List want to destroy the state and that a government in which they are part would be an “existential threat to the State of Israel.”

The president said that these kinds of statements “deepen the already existing divisions” within the state.

“I ask everyone who cares about the State of Israel to stop these ugly statements,” he demanded.
Rivlin’s comments came the same day that 18 nonprofit organizations filed a joint letter to the president calling on him “to denounce Prime Minister Netanyahu’s harsh remarks” against Arab citizens of Israel.
“This is dangerous, persistent and serious racial incitement that is now at its peak,” the letter explained. “It is essential to respond to it head on.”
The signatories included Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation and Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development; Givat Haviva - The Center for a Shared Society; Abraham Initiatives; Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace; and Rabbis for Human Rights.
They said that the prime minister has “embarked on a dangerous campaign of incitement that suggests an unspoken permission to endanger the lives of representatives of the Arab public, and attempts to delegitimize 20% of the country’s citizens.”
They told the president that, “It is forbidden to consent to incitement in silence – this is actually participation in incitement.”
The letter comes one day after the head of the Arab Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, accused Netanyahu of “attempting to set off a civil war” with his remarks, and one day after the chairman of the Joint List faction, MK Ahmad Tibi, submitted a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee against the prime minister.
“Bibi has crossed all redlines,” Tibi told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “He won’t stop targeting us for assassination until one of us is harmed by an extremist.”