An Israeli train driver earlier this week took to Facebook to encourage his compatriots to run over Palestinians for “the Jewish nation.”
On the afternoon of 11 November, Benny Levy, a train operator for Israel Railways, wrote the message on his personal Facebook page. Apparently attempting to start a chain message intended to be passed on and shared by other Facebook users, he called on every Israeli to “invest one small effort” and “run over only one Arab.”
The full status reads:
Forward, don’t break!!!! In light of the difficult situation of the Jewish Nation we’ve got to wake up! Everyone takes one little action into his own hands, run over only one Arab, that’s all, and God Willing together we’ll manage to make a difference! Each person will invest one small effort for us all!
His comments come after several instances of Palestinians driving cars into Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem. Though it is unclear whether those incidents were attacks or accidents, Israeli forces killed the drivers on the scene and subsequently labeled them “terrorists.”
Inas Khalil, a five-year-old Palestinian girl from the West Bank village of Sinjil, died from wounds sustained after an Israeli settler hit her in his car. Toleen Asfour, six, was also injured and left in critical condition.
Though Levy’s Facebook page appears to have since been deactivated, his posting is part of an ongoing campaign of anti-Palestinian incitement that includes Israeli politicians and civilians alike.
Palestinian politician Jamal Zahalka (leader of the Balad party), who is a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, denounced the Israeli government for neglecting to charge Levy with a crime. Writing on his Facebook page, Zahalka called Levy’s comments “deadly racism.”
Noting that Israel Railways has been allowed to handle Levy’s punishment internally, Zahalka pointed out that Levy’s comments qualify as incitement and require legal action. “Our blood is not worthless,” he wrote.
Yet anti-Palestinian incitement is rarely punished in Israel, and politicians who call for genocide and ethnic cleansing enjoy complete impunity.
Following the police execution of a Palestinian youth in the Galilee village of Kufr Kana, Israel’s economic minister Naftali Bennett defended the police actions and called the 22-year-old victim Kheir Hamdan a “frenzied Arab terrorist.”
Adalah, the Haifa-based legal center for Palestinians in Israel, noted “a direct connection between the murder of Kheir Hamdan and the statements made earlier this week by Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich.”
“The Minister stated that anyone who attacks Israeli Jewish citizens should be killed immediately,” Adalah reported. “In any democratic society that respects the life of its citizens, any government minister that makes statements such as those by Yitzhak Aharonovich should be immediately dismissed.”
An Israeli Facebook page was also launched earlier this week to declare its support for a thus far unnamed officer from Israel’s Border Police who was arrested this week and is suspected to be responsible for the slaying of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara in May. Despite only being online for four days, that page has already received more than 23,000 “likes” from supporters.
As is the case with the killing of Kheir Hamdan, Nuwara’s shooting was caught on tape with CCTV footage obtained from nearby security cameras.
A government-funded rabbi, Elyakim Levanon, recently urged the Israeli government to ban Palestinian citizens of Israel from driving cars outside of their towns, as reported by The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah.
“Every car is a terror institution and every gas station that provides fuel to Arab cars that travel the roads is a station that supplies weapons and ammunition,” Levanon told the Ultra-orthodox radio station Kol Hai.
“Arab cars may not leave Arab cities,” Levanon added. “Arabs who want to do so can travel by bus. Those who use a private vehicle to attack and kill people will not travel in a car … it will take a week, two weeks, or a month until the Arab street [public] will calm down and understand that there is order in the state.”
Given the widespread anti-Palestinian incitement by Israel’s political leaders, it is reasonable to conclude that Levanon’s racism will go unchecked.
Thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.