(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein ordered Knesset Chief Security Officer Yosef Griff to strengthen security around MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) due to escalation in threats toward him on social media.
Griff submitted evidence indicating incitement against the MK to the police and asked to open a criminal investigation.
Edelstein’s office said the Knesset will hold assessment meetings with the police about the situation.
“I will not hide my opinions, even if some people do not like them,” Margalit stated on Friday, referring to his comments against government policies.
“I knew that I would pay a price when I filed the petition to the High Court [of Justice], and when I defied the calls to pardon Elor Azaria,” he said. “But the responsibility for this wave of incitement lies with this current government.
“The prime minister, instead of criticizing the calls to kill the IDF chief, published a statement against the military court ruling. If we don’t wake up, someone will pay a heavy price because of his opinions,” he added.
After the verdict on Wednesday, Margalit posted on Facebook that he is “against pardoning Elor Azaria... simple as that.”
MK Ayelet Nachmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) said the incitement reminded her of the period prior to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.
“This wave of incitement we are going through in recent days is despicable. People who said ‘Gadi [Eisenkot] watch out, Rabin is looking for a friend,’ are not just inciting, they are criminals,” she said.
“When I heard that security is [being] tightened around MK Margalit, I asked myself, ‘What happened to the Israel I know?’ The days prior to Rabin’s assassination are here, and we shall not remain silent,” she added.
Edelstein expressed his concerns on Thursday and called upon the public to honor all opinions.
“It is the right of every citizen to express their opinions on every subject, but one must also honor every counter-opinion,” he said. “Calls of incitement to hurt MKs are wrong and could cause real damage.
The incitement we’ve seen yesterday against the IDF chief of staff, our commander in chief and against the military court judges needs to shock everyone who lives in the state of Israel.
“I expect all of us, public representatives and opinion leaders, to unambiguously defy this kind of incitement and speak up for the freedom of speech,” he added.