Netanyahu is driving the incitement that will lead to murder

Opinion: In the shadow of an attack on prominent journalist and decorated IDF veteran Amnon Abramovich, it is clear that it is just a matter of time until we see a deadly escalation, sponsored by the country's inciter in chief

Shelly Yachimovich|
I don't know the names of the scumbags who called reporter Amnon Abramovich a “dog” or a “stinking burned man,” just as I don’t know who the refined gentleman are who branded him a “traitor”, a “fifth columnist,” and an “Israel hater.”
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  • I also do not know the identities of those who wished to harm him as they swooped down upon him, before he was rescued by a large force of elite police officers.
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    בנימין נתניהו בפתח משפטו
    בנימין נתניהו בפתח משפטו
    Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening of his corruption trial
    (Photo: Reuters)
    What I do know is that they had inspiration from on high in the form of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s number one inciter. They dance to his tune and act on his inspiration.
    And beyond the routine, ongoing incitement against Israel’s rule of law and institutions, and against the free press, Netanyahu has also chosen to target, with clear ill intent, a small group of journalists that includes Abramovich.
    It is upon them that Netanyahu has chosen to plant a bullseye, making them his personal scapegoat and moving target.
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    אמנון אברמוביץ'
    אמנון אברמוביץ'
    Amnon Abramovich is escorted from a right-wing protest in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    This is not the first time Abramovich has been attacked by thugs while performing his duties as a journalist.
    He was attacked while covering the trial of IDF soldier Elor Azaria during his trial for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian attacker in Hebron in 2016.
    He was also attacked for no reason near the Channel 2 News broadcast spot during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
    The list goes on.
    And yet the most vile and evil of attacks on Abramovich came directly from Netanyahu himself.
    The most vile incident came during the Likud’s election campaign last March, when he was ridiculed by an impersonator who was made up to look as scarred as Abramovich, who was badly wounded in battle during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which won him a commendation for bravery.
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    חיקוי אמנון אברמוביץ'
    חיקוי אמנון אברמוביץ'
    The mock interview with an Amnon Abramovich impersonator and TV presenter Eliraz Sade
    (Photo: Likud Facebook page )
    I don’t feel comfortable bringing up the circumstances that led to Abramovich’s injuries at this point, but neither he nor any other journalist should require a certificate of patriotism in order to do their job without fearing for their lives.
    Yet it is hard to ignore the huge gulf between the systematic attempts to paint him as a traitor and his actual contribution as a member of the Armored Corps, which led to him receiving a commendation for his valor and sacrifice in the war.
    For more than a year, Abramovich was hospitalized in critical condition, enduring endless painful surgeries and transplants to try to repair the wounds he suffered while driving a blazing tank as his body burned - purely to safeguard the tank convoy that was following him through enemy territory.
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    אמנון אברמוביץ'
    אמנון אברמוביץ'
    Amnon Abramovich
    (Photo: Jonathan Blum)
    As years passed, he made a wondrous recovery, lived in peace with his disability and all of its difficulties, never made waves in the media over his injuries, and became one of the most important journalists in Israel.
    He is an opinion journalist, and his views reflect a wide slice of Zionists in Israeli society.
    During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict he was attacked due to the fact that he did think it was useful to conquer the Strip. But now it's not even about his political position.
    The index by which one is considered a traitor has become exceedingly binary: You either believe that Netanyahu is a martyr who is wrongfully prosecuted, should be immediately freed from any legal process, receive our most humble apologies and anointed to rule forever, or you don't and you are an apostate.
    All of this is designed to save Netanyahu’s hide and free him from the possibility of jail time. It is done by his command; it is all is done to crush the very foundations of democracy - the rule of law and a free press.
    And who knows better than Netanyahu that good old healthy incitement needs a face and a name. This time, and not for the first time, it is Abramovich's war-scarred face and good name.
    The brief history of our state shows such situations do not end well.
    In the past, when these vile sections of our society reared their ugly heads and were not condoned it ended in murder.
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    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin attends a peace rally in Tel Aviv shortly before his murder by a far-right Jewish extremist
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin attends a peace rally in Tel Aviv shortly before his murder by a far-right Jewish extremist
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin attends a peace rally in Tel Aviv shortly before his murder by a far-right Jewish extremist
    (Photo: Michael Kramer)
    First in the killing of peace advocate Emil Grunzweig in 1983, followed by the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, and more.
    Today, not only is such speech not condoned, it is deliberately encouraged. At this rate, as Netanyahu’s corruption trial progresses, the chances that a journalist, judge or lawyer is murdered increase.
    This shameful attack happened almost at the same time as the Knesset Fiance Committee met to discuss using public funds for Netanyahu's high-profile, lavish lifestyle, both retroactively and for the foreseeable future.
    Likud MK Mickey Zohar lamented the prime minister's tragic plight, calling him "economically disabled” even as an attack was taking place on a genuinely disabled person.
    This man who was so terribly wounded during his IDF service and who was commended for his valor does not ask anyone to feel sorry for him, which only serves to make Zohar’s remarks all the more perverse.
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