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Israel’s right engaged in wild anti-Arab incitement

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s attempts to establish a minority government with the support of the Arab Joint List is leading right-wing ministers to intensify their inciteful tone against Arab legislators.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks next to Likud party election campaign banners, one depicting party leader Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other depicting Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White party and Ahmad Tibi, co-leader of the Joint List, an Arab party, in Jerusalem February 20, 2020. Picture taken February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RC297F9OEC8G

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career nears its end, the tone of incitement under his guidance rises another notch. These are no longer only words and slogans of a tense election campaign, borderline statements that can be shrugged off — but wild incitement that can be understood as a call for murder. These statements have been uttered by the most senior ministers of Netanyahu’s government. It almost looks like they are reading aloud messages crafted by the prime minister’s office. And these messages strongly imply that a government under Blue and White leader Benny Gantz with the support of the Arab Joint List, would be an act of treason. No less.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who in the past was viewed as a rival of Netanyahu, has become one the ministers closest to the prime minister over the last year. Now, faced with the possibility that Joint List members might recommend Gantz to assemble a coalition, Katz said in a March 8 Kan Reshet Bet radio interview that the Joint List Knesset members are “terrorists in suits or supporters of terrorists in suits.” Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh reacted to Katz's comments by saying, “The Likud has losers in suits.” This hints that the Likud is not willing to admit that Netanyahu lost the last elections; some say the Likud is venting its fury by defaming Joint List members and inciting against them, claiming that a deal with “terrorists” is equivalent to treason.

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