25,000 religious Israeli citizens gathered on Saturday night, September 11th in the public square of a major city in Israel chanting slogans that called for the death of Israel’s police minister and for the violent overthrow of the Israeli government. Their goal? To replace the government with one closer to their religious ideology.

The most vociferous moments of incitement during that rally were telecast that evening on both major Israeli TV by newsreels on Israel’s Public Channel One and on Israel’s Commercial Channel Two.

Yet there was no public outcry to indict the organizers of this event, and there was no response of senior Israel law enforcement officials in reaction to the rally.

Calls placed to the Israeli police to ask if they would prosecute the organizers for incitement did not even receive the courtesy of a returned phone call.

The rally on September 11th had been organized by the Israeli Islamic Movement and took place in the largest Israeli Arab city, Um El Facham.

The next evening, on September 12th, 100,000 Israeli citizens gathered in Zion Square in Jerusalem to protest Ariel Sharon’s plan that calls for Israel to demolish 19 prosperous Israeli farming communities near Gaza, and for Israel to once again assist in the training of the Palestinian security forces that are now at war with Israel. Among those security forces are known terrorists. 8,000 Jews are to be deported from their homes and businesses they built on unoccupied sand dunes.

At that event, I stood on the press podium to the side, translating songs, speeches, and prayers for the foreign press into English. There were grade school children singing patriotic tunes about Israel and rabbis uttering prayers. And Israeli citizens from all walks of life pleaded with the Israeli government not to uproot the homes and farms of Jews and hand them over to an entity at war with Israel.

In this day and age, to spend several hours watching thousands of teenagers come to join a mass demonstration that was devoid of drugs, alcohol, and MTV is quite an unusual experience, even in Israel.

Without being corny, you might call it a wholesome experience.

This contrasted with the previous night’s demo, when thousands of other Israeli Arab teenagers chanted, “With Blood and Fire, We Will Redeem You Palestine!” And their chants were telecast on Israeli TV News.

Monday morning, September 13th, following the two weekend demonstrations, not one Israeli politician was ready to comment on the September 11th demonstration of hatred in Um El Facham.

Yet at least twenty Israeli politicians, including four senior Israeli cabinet members, went on record condemning the reported incitement that went on during the September 12th demo in Jerusalem, where every single speaker went out of his way to denounce any kind of violence. All of a sudden, posters that called Sharon a “dictator” were defined by Israeli police officials as “incitement.”

Israel’s Government Radio and Israel’s Armed Forces Radio blared out every hour on the hour that the Prime Minister’s life had been threatened.

However, spokesmen in the Israeli government offices said that they knew of no threats on the life of the Prime Minister. On the evening of Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 the General Security Services of Israeli intelligence, also known as the “Shabak”, issued a statement that they knew of no threat on the life of Israel’s prime minister.

During the ten days of repentance, no words of regret are to be heard from those who claimed that the September 12th demo against the Sharon plan were preaching violence and murder.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.