JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s security force filed a police complaint over threatening messages Rivlin received in the wake of his condemnation of an arson attack that killed a Palestinian baby.
Threats on social media included a call for Rivlin’s assassination and a photo showing the president wearing a black-and-white-checkered kaffiyah.
Following the predawn attack Friday on the Palestinian West Bank village of Duma, near Nablus, Rivlin said in a statement, “It seems we have been lax in our treatment of the phenomena of Jewish terrorism. Perhaps we did not internalize that we are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build. I believe that the more we understand this significant danger to the State of Israel, the more we will be aware to confront it, and uproot it.”
At an anti-violence, anti-homophobia rally on Saturday night in Jerusalem, Rivlin said: “A blatant disregard for the rule of law, for human dignity, for a love of mankind, for a love of Israel, and freedom of opinion, has spread within us and is wreaking havoc. An atmosphere has been created here that has allowed leniency toward what is naively called ‘weeds.’
“Every society has extremist fringes, but today we have to ask: What is it in the public atmosphere which allows extremism and extremists to walk in confidence, in broad daylight? What is it that has enabled these ‘weeds’ to threaten the safety of the entire garden of flowers?”
Israel’s Shin Bet security service encouraged Rivlin’s security officials to file the police complaint, according to Haaretz.
Rivlin’s Facebook post against the attack, published in both Hebrew and Arabic, has received thousands of likes and responses.
The arson attack is believed to have been carried out by two extremist Jewish settlers from an illegal outpost in the east Shiloh area of the West Bank, near Duma.