A Swiss radical leftist activist has been deported from Israel, and the Swiss ambassador has apologized to the Jewish community of Chevron, after the activist was filmed slapping a 10-year-old Jewish boy in the face. “The incident was no doubt provoked by a provocation of settlers,” the ambassador said in a letter to the community. “Nevertheless, the actions of the representative of the group is unacceptable. We expect the people in our organization to control themselves under all conditions,” the letter said.
The incident occurred earlier last week, when a member of TIPH – Temporary International Presence in Hevron, which bills itself as “a civilian observer mission present in the city of Hevron upon invitation by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority” – slapped the Jewish boy, who protested the TIPH presence in the Jewish quarter of Chevron. The youth is seen in footage walking up to the activist, who then raises his arm and gives the teen a strong slap. The youth is seen reeling away, and IDF soldiers intervene to end the incident.
TIPH members include “peace activists” from Italy, Turkey, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, and work mostly with Arab residents of Chevron, documenting the actions of IDF soldiers and Jewish residents of the city. The TIPH group was on a tour of Chevron led by far-left group Breaking the Silence.
The footage was broadcast on Channel Two and raised the ire of Israelis. MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) demanded that the activist be deported, and banned from entering Yehudah and Shomron ever again. “This man should be detained by police, and kept away from Yehudah and Shomron. Authorities should deport him immediately, and his diplomatic passport should be confiscated,” he said, going so far as to demand that Jewish Home resign from the government unless the activist was deported by the weekend. “The days when non-Jews beat Jews, especially in the Land of Israel and especially in Chevron, are past, even if it is under the guise of a ‘peacekeeping mission’ by Breaking the Silence, under diplomatic protection.”
In response to the ambassador’s letter, the Jewish Community of Chevron said that they appreciated the support of the ambassador in removing the activist from Israel. “The minimum required of Switzerland in this case is putting the activist on trial, and paying compensation to the victim. In addition, TIPH must take steps to ensure that this does not happen again. The entire approach of TIPH should be changed to be neutral, and less hostile to the Jewish community of Chevron and its right to exist.”