Rivlin Rebukes Netanyahu for Arab Remarks

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin . (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin publicly rebuked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ for calling members of the Joint Arab List a “fifth column” that poses “an existential threat” to Israel, following a meeting between the two on Tuesday night.

Netanyahu told a Likud “emergency” rally on Monday night that the deal being discussed for a Blue and White-led minority coalition backed from outside by the Joint Arab List, whose members have often voiced support for terrorists, would be “dangerous” and was “unthinkable.” He called on Benny Gantz to end such discussions.

Rivlin had a more general reproof for Gantz and Avigdor Liberman, as well, though, as he condemned anti-chareidi remarks made about “the Arab and chareidi populations and about their representatives in the Knesset [which] undermine the legitimacy of these parts of Israeli society, deepening the already existing divisions.”

Both Liberman and Gantz have explicitly sought to exclude the chareidi parties from their coalition plans, engaging for months in smears against the entire Torah community.

“I ask everyone who cares about the State of Israel to stop these ugly statements,” Rivlin said.

He did note, however, that Arab Knesset Members do sometimes say things about Israeli society, and particularly about IDF soldiers, that are “grave, shocking, and unacceptable.” But that still does not justify the delegitimization of an entire sector.

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