Interior Minister Aryeh Deri issued a response Friday to Thursday’s angry demonstration in south Tel Aviv, during which demonstrators burned his picture, reassuring residents "that the events of last night will not diminish my sincere concern for you."
In a tweet Deri released shortly before Shabbat he wrote: "Dear residents of south Tel Aviv, I assure you that last night's events will not diminish my concern for you and my activities to restore the neighborhoods to you, the residents. Shabbat Shalom to you and to all of Israel."
The residents protested the government's inaction in handling the migrants and refugees in their neighborhoods and demanded that they be expelled from Israel.
The events at the demonstration aroused many reactions throughout the political system. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: "I respect the real plight of the residents of southern Tel Aviv, and the government under my leadership, together with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, is making unremitting efforts to remove the infiltrators from Israel, both openly and behind the scenes. I strongly condemn the act of burning the photo of Minister Deri, such actions have no place among us."
In response to the prime minister’s condemnation, organizers of the rally said:"If Netanyahu and Deri and the other members of the right-wing government, who constantly claim that they are acting for the sake of South Tel Aviv and its residents, would bother to condemn the gang war that rages in our streets and would not abandon us to the mercy of the infiltrators and the whims of the police , we would not have felt the need for such a performance.
"Every artistic performance, however acute, is dwarfed by the crying of one woman who was afraid to come to the demonstration yesterday because the Sudanese from across the street threatened to murder her son," they explained. “It is a pity that it was necessary to burn a picture in order for you to pay attention to our plight.”
“It seems that murderers who are released to the streets, drug dealers who operate without interference, infiltrators who threaten civilians and a public space that is entirely controlled by a hostile population are worth much less than a picture and a lighter. But now that we've managed to get your attention, we're looking forward to seeing work soon," they added.
MK Yinon Azulay (Shas) sent a letter to the Attorney General and to Minister Erdan demanding that criminal proceedings be opened against the organizers of the protest and the demonstrators who set fire to Deri’s picture, in effect calling for acts of violence and murder against a minister in the Israeli government.
"Freedom of speech cannot tolerate calls for murder in general and against a government minister in particular, and the severity of the act requires intervention by law enforcement agencies," he wrote.
Azulay added: "In light of the threat directed against the interior minister, I will ask that Minister Erdan provide security for the interior minister until the matter is clarified and the threat is removed."