JERUSALEM, Israel -- Last Friday night, the TV stations in Israel were in a frenzy over the right-wing incitement against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and the northern West Bank and to expel all Jews living in these areas from their homes and communities. Israel Channel 2 devoted fully a third of its hour-long news broadcast to the issue -- super-imposing images of the mass political protests against the agreements with the PLO in the months before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995 with footage from the recent mass rally and protests against Sharon's withdrawal plan.
The medai made of the fact that right-wing activist Jewish Itamar Ben-Gvir yelled at Education Minister Limor Livnat at the memorial service for the slain Jewish underground leader from the pre-statehood days, Avraham Stern. Ben-Gvir told her (probably correctly) that Stern would never have approved her support for Sharon's plan.
It was unpleasant seeing Ben-Gvir and his nasty friends following Livnat and yelling at her. But then again, how was their behavior different from that of members of Knesset who insult and curse one other as a matter of course? Why is this news?
Then there is the pseudo-attack against Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Thursday night. The initial reports claimed that a group of anti-withdrawal thugs slashed Netanyahu s tires and surrounded him, yelling, as he tried to make it to his disabled car. He was spirited away in another vehicle, escaping, so the reports had us believe, by the skin of his teeth.
After the matter was duly investigated, it worked out that Netanyahu's tires had not been slashed; he may simply have had a flat tire. And that no group of hooligans had surrounded him; one teenager had yelled at him. According to Amnon Abramovich, from Channel 2, this teenager had actually been asked to yell at Netanyahu by a journalist at the scene who told him what to say and even sent him a "thank you for a job well done" text message on his cellular phone.
In the meantime, in light of these major infractions on the apparent right of public servants to receive no unpleasant criticism for their support of highly controversial policies, Sunday, Interior Security Minister Gideon Ezra called for inciters -- including people writing nasty graffiti on city streets -- to be placed under administrative detention.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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