A video depicting ultra-orthodox Jewish wedding-goers mocking the death of Ali Saad Dawabsheh — an 18-month-old Palestinian baby who was killed in an arson attack in July — has prompted widespread criticism. The video, aired by Israel’s Channel 10 late Wednesday, was filmed at a wedding in Jerusalem three weeks back, Haaretz reported.
“The shocking pictures that were broadcast this evening show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, in a statement released Wednesday.
Isaac Herzog, leader of the Zionist Union, reportedly wrote on Twitter: “You miserable people, you’ve forgotten what it is to be Jews. You disgrace your skullcap, your prayer shawl and the name of God. Whoever dances at a wedding and celebrates the murder of a sleeping baby is not Jewish and not Israeli. He should be put behind bars as quickly as possible.”
In the video, several people are seen brandishing assault rifles, knives and petrol bombs. At one point in the clip, a man is seen repeatedly stabbing a picture of the Palestinian toddler, whose death in the West Bank village of Duma was believed to be a suspected “price tag” attack. These attacks are carried out by extremist settlers against Palestinian residents of the West Bank in retaliation to the Israeli government’s actions against illegal Jewish settlements.
While several suspects have since been taken into custody, no one has been charged yet. Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon inflamed sentiments in the region by saying that there was not “enough proof” to prosecute the suspects.
“Indictments are a rarity when Israeli soldiers or settlers resort to violence against Palestinians and investigations can last for years before being closed, absolving perpetrators of any wrongdoing,” Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children International in Palestine, told Al Jazeera at the time.
While several rights group have spoken out against the Israeli government’s apparent failure to curb incidents of “Jewish terrorism,” several right-wing Jewish groups have accused the Shin Bet of trying to extract confessions from suspects using torture.
“My concern is that someone in the security establishment released this clip, at this time, in order to try to grant legitimacy to those aberrant interrogation methods, which apparently include unacceptable use of violence, against people from this group,” Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the Zionist Jewish Home political party, reportedly said.
Netanyahu, however, defended the Shin Bet’s practices as lawful, adding that the video clips “underscore how important a strong Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet] is to the security of us all.”