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Israel’s soft stance on incitement creates tragedy

Hate of Israeli Arabs has reached a peak with the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, reflecting the tolerance of Israeli society toward words and deeds of extreme-right activists.
Supporters of Beitar Jerusalem cheer for their team during a soccer match against Maccabi Umm el-Fahm at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem January 29, 2013. Hundreds of police officers and stewards secured the Israeli State Cup match on Tuesday in which Premier League Beitar Jerusalem, supported by a group of vehement anti-Arab fans, host Arab side Maccabi Umm el-Fahm. A racist element among Beitar fans caused uproar in the Jewish state on Saturday when they held up banners during a Premier League match to protest
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Twenty-four hours after the charred body of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was discovered on July 3, President-elect Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence visit to the Shaer family, whose son Gil-Ad was abducted and murdered by terrorists. When asked by journalists about the voices calling for revenge against Arabs and the wave of incitement and racism on the social networks, Rivlin responded with an analogy from the sphere of soccer. He said that when racist cries emerge from the eastern gallery of the Teddy Stadium, it's befitting that the fans from the western gallery should admonish them. “I always thought that the western gallery is no less guilty than the eastern one. Even if it is horrified inside, that’s not enough.”

It's doubtful whether Rivlin knew at that moment that the police were already on the heels of the suspects, who are believed to be members of an extremist Jewish organization in Jerusalem. The organization’s activists and inciters are part of that infamous eastern gallery.

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