Police on Thursday morning pulled down a poster of a caricature of Arab terrorist Abd Al Hakim Adel A’asi, the murderer of Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, Hy”d, earlier this year. The poster, which had been hung on the famous Clock Tower in central Jaffa, showed A’asi with a noose around his neck. Police said they considered the incident “very serious, and an attempt to upset the public order. The sign has been removed and an investigation has been launched.”
The poster was hung in protest against Arab terrorism, in the middle of predominantly Arab central Jaffa. The hanging of the poster in the middle of the night was done by activists of the Otzma Yehudit right-wing protest group, who documented the incident and distributed video of the poster hanging to Israeli media. The video shows the activists climbing to the middle of the tower using ladders at about 3:00 a.m.
In a statement, attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who often works with Otzma Yehudit as a defense attorney, said that the hanging of the poster was part of an art project that the right-wing group’s members were involved in, together with students from the Shenkar Institute of Tel Aviv University.
“Human rights and respect belong to human beings, not animals who pick up a knife and slaughter the father of four young children, who left behind a young widow. We should be respecting the lives of Israeli citizens, and not low murderers of this type,” he said.
A’asi murdered Rabbi Ben Gal in February in a stabbing attack at the entrance to Ariel in central Shomron. Rabbi Ben Gal had been waiting at a bus stop, and A’asi had just gotten out of a taxi. He crossed the highway and attacked Rabbi Ben Gal using the two knives he was holding, stabbing his victim in the upper body. Rabbi Ben Gal, realizing what had happened, ran away, pursued by the terrorist. He managed to signal to a bus driver that he had been stabbed, and when the driver got off the bus and security officials began pursuing him, the murderer ran in the other direction.
A’asi, who was identified from security camera footage, ran into the Arab village of Kifl Haris, across the highway from Ariel. Israeli security forces found him six weeks after the murder in Shechem.
Several other suspects were arrested as well. A’asi, 19, is an Israeli citizen. Records show that A’asi, who had been living in Jaffa in recent years, had been a drifter who did not complete high school. He was known to social service agencies in Haifa and Tel Aviv, and had been homeless for a time. A’asi once lived for several weeks at a Tel Aviv shelter for homeless youth, but left after he was warned by administrators to stop visiting his father in Shechem, where he would go every few weeks.