Israel grants Palestinian MK security amid rising threat from far-right

The leader of the United Arab List (Ra'am), Mansour Abbas. (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 15, 2021

Mansour Abbas will be placed under tighter security amid growing threats against the Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset. The officer of the Knesset agreed to a police recommendation to allocate United Arab List leader a security detail yesterday, as ultra-Jewish nationalist lawmakers direct threats and abuse at the 47-year-old.

In the March election, Abbas received four of the Knesset’s 120 seats, putting him in a unique position to secure a fragile governing majority and block Benjamin Netanyahu from a record sixth term in office.

In the months since, Abbas, who also serves as the deputy minister of Arab affairs, has faced threats and intimidation. In July member of the Israeli Knesset, Yitzhak Pindrus, delivered a shockingly chilling message while looking directly at Abbas. Pindrus, a member of the United Torah Judaism, called for the killing of people in mixed marriages.

Other far-right Israeli lawmakers have been more direct in their hateful rhetoric against the Palestinian lawmaker. In December, Abbas was called a “terrorist”, by protesters, including far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir. Chairman of right-wing Otzma Yehudit Party, Ben-Gvir’s hateful rhetoric against non-Jews is well known. He has described Bedouin citizens in the Negev/Naqab Desert as “dirty” and said that they “pollute our country.”

Condemning his critics on Twitter, Abbas said: “Blood libels and false accusations were the inheritance of Jew-haters.”

Also yesterday, the detention of a 27-year-old was extended by three days over threats he made against Israel’s Internal Security Minister, Omer Bar-Lev. The representative from the Labor Party shed a rare spotlight on settler violence against Palestinians, provoking anger and outrage.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Bar-Lev’s statement, dubbing settler violence an “insignificant phenomena”, and insisted that illegal settlers “serve as a protective wall” for the occupation state.