Israeli opposition leader warns against Israel xenophobic streak

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SHAFAQNA – Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned of what he called “growing hatred and racism” in Israel encouraged by right-wing politicians, adding that it could pave the way for further deadly violence.

“We are on the verge of an uprising of hatred, racism, darkness and upcoming killings and assassination based on the overwhelming internal hatred here,” NRG quoted Herzog as saying during a speech at a Zionist Camp parliamentary bloc session on Monday.

“We hear hatred at every turn, whether it is directed towards women by military rabbis, by Ashkenazi Jews against Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazis, from military school rabbis towards homosexuals, or between Arabs and Jews,” the Labor Party leader added, notably in reference to the recent appointment of Eyal Karim, who has implicitly justified the rape of women in times of war, as the new chief rabbi of the Israeli army.

Herzog went on to blame the current Israeli government, which he said has encouraged the growing right-wing discourse in Israeli society.

“This way the seeds of the uprising of hatred are planted, which will lead to a civil war. This hatred is being carried out by the full support and cover of those in the government,” Herzog said.

“(Likud MK) Miri Regev will shed tears, (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu will write a post on Facebook, and (Minister of Education) Naftali Bennett will call for self-assessment, but they will be the ones indicted this time,” Herzog added.

“Whoever heads this government remains silent about the uprising of hatred, without working against it, ending it, taking steps against its leaders, or preventing those behind it from receiving funding.”

“They have forgotten that protecting the weak is a major condition of being Jewish, in addition to tolerance and protecting democracy, values and morals. It seems that Netanyahu has forgotten the meaning of being Jewish,” Herzog said.

Earlier this month, Herzog denounced the passage of legislation requiring that Israeli NGOs reveal the sources of their public foreign funding — a law which has been denounced as an attack on left-wing Israeli organizations working to denounce Israeli occupation practices against Palestinians.

At the time, Herzog slammed the law for “symbolizing the budding fascism that is rising and flourishing in Israeli society.”

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