Police are investigating the actions of Jewish extremists who danced at a Jerusalem wedding with guns and knives while cheering the murder of a Palestinian family in Duma and calling for more killings.
Judea and Samaria district police said on Thursday that the investigation into the “many serious crimes” at that wedding had already been under way for a number of days, when a video from the wedding was aired on Channel 10.
A police spokesman added that police are working with the state prosecution on the investigation, which includes incitement to violence charges.
The minute-long footage that drew a shocked reaction from Israeli politicians showed young men wearing white skullcaps and shirts, dancing while holding knives and guns.
One of the dancers stabbed a photograph of slain Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha. Another young man was held aloft as he clutched a firebomb in one hand and a knife in the other.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday
that the dancers in the video represent a fringe group of extremists.
“That is not the proud religious Zionism that contributes to the state, and whose sons serve in the elite units in the army,” he said.
“This fringe group does not represent the Right, it is not the Right that I know,” he said.
“Israel is a land of the rule of law. We will not tolerate a situation where a particular group refuses to accept the laws of the state, and carries out acts of murder,” he said.
He was among the first to condemn the actions on the video late Wednesday night.
“The shocking pictures that were broadcast this evening show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel. The pictures underscore how important a strong Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] is to the security of us all,” Netanyahu said.
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot instructed the Military Police to investigate the origin of the weapons seen in the video and whether any IDF soldiers participated in the event.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the wedding video was not surprising to anyone who is familiar with “the dangerous and extreme types who act at the broad margins of the [Right],” but added that “this wild and dangerous mindset must be denounced and uprooted immediately.”
“They go against Jewish and human morals and can bring a tragedy to the settlement enterprise,” Edelstein warned.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote to Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen and Police Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich asking that they act urgently against incitement.
“The great urgency comes not only from what is published in the media these days, but from information the three of us are exposed to – you from your positions, as members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee on Intelligence,” he wrote.
“The published and confidential information that came to light in recent weeks shows that the circles of violence and incitement of Jewish terrorism cannot be seen as just a few dozen youngsters disconnected from life in regular towns.”
Lapid posited that the young people have broader ideological and political support.
“It is clear that Jewish terrorism cannot be taken care of without the Shin Bet and police acting more broadly to stop the incitement that leads to it,” he stated. “These people are a danger to the State of Israel. We must fight them, the way we fight Hamas and Hezbollah.
“These people did not spring up out of a void.
There are rabbis, ideologues and politicians behind them,” Lapid said.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) said, “The evil ideology of price tag attacks has no place in religious Zionism, period. Anyone who doesn’t understand this should look at the video that was published on Channel 10.”
“That kind of twisted dancing with pictures of a baby who was murdered in his sleep reflects a dangerous ideology that has lost all traces of humanity,” Smotrich said.
Such an ideology, he added, has no place in the world of religious Zionism and is not a legitimate part of the dialogue in the democratic State of Israel.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said the video shows “a crazy group of dangerous people. We must denounce these people and eradicate this phenomenon that harms Judaism and endangers the State of Israel,” he wrote on Facebook.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said that the condemnations of the video coming from right-wing leaders are not enough, and that the video is just a symptom of a more widespread phenomenon.
“The disease is the deep, blind hatred that does not start and end at a ‘small group’ of young men, but reaches growing sections of our society... It is the feeling of mastership over the Palestinians, the apathy towards their suffering and the total security in the superiority of the Jewish people,” she wrote on Facebook.
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said in the Knesset plenum Wednesday night that “the group that danced on the blood is the group that opposes Shin Bet investigations. They are a group that is growing among us.
“My Judaism is not that of those who dance on babies’ blood,” she declared. “This group wants to destroy Jewish Israel, to destroy this country, to turn it into a state of hatred and destroy the government from the inside. And those who protest against the Shin Bet, those who are not Jewish terrorists, are allowing them to dance on the blood.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett who heads the Bayit Yehudi Party said: “We don’t only have to condemn the video, we have to uproot phenomena that cause these videos. This is a time for actions, not talk.”
In an interview with Channel 2, Bennett sought to separate the attackers in Duma and their supporters from religious Zionism, calling their ideology “Ben-Gvirism” after the outspoken extremist lawyer representing them, and saying they seek to destroy the establishment, while his Bayit Yehudi Party is the establishment.
The video comes amid an intense debate over the interrogation methods of the Shin Bet, which has a number of Jewish suspects in custody with regard to the July attack in which the Dawabsha family home in Duma was torched.
Sa’ad Dawabasha, 32, his wife, Reham, 27, and their 18-month-old son Ali were killed in that attack.
No one has been charged in the death of the three Palestinians, but from the beginning, defense officials said they were certain the act was carried out by Jewish terrorists.
The attorneys of the suspects in custody have charged that the Shin Bet has tortured their clients.
Family members have made similar charges, as has a suspect who was released after nine days in custody.
Netanyahu on Thursday also spoke in defense of the Shin Bet.
“The Shin Bet acts in accordance to the law and protects the state and its citizens,” he said, once again defending the organization.
“Without the security branches, including the Shin Bet, where would be?” he asked. “Anyone who is worried about the security of Israel has to act against terrorism, that is what we have done, and will continue to do.”
While he condemned Jewish acts of terrorism, he differentiated them from Palestinian terrorism.
“It is also impossible to compare the scope of that terrorism with Arab terrorism. In the last month they [Arabs] carried out hundreds of attacks against us, and we saw just a few Jewish terrorist attacks.”
Nevertheless, he said, Israel will not tolerate any type of terrorism, from any side.
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