The foreign minister of Israel is making headlines for his recent comments suggesting that Israeli Arabs should be beheaded for not supporting their nation.
Avigdor Lieberman has been vocal about his disdain for the Arab community in Israel, which makes up 20 percent of the country’s population. However, his comments at an election rally on Mar. 8 have understandably not resonated well with that voting block.
“Whoever’s with us should get everything. Those who are against us, there’s nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off his head. Otherwise we won’t survive here,” said the outspoken politician.
This isn’t the first time Lieberman has made inflammatory remarks toward the Israeli-Arab community. Last year, he proposed a boycott against Arab businesses that had closed their stores to protest the ongoing bombing campaign by Israel against longtime foe Gaza. Previously, he had offered monetary incentives for Arabs to leave Israel.
Some political analysts say that comments like this are common during a run-up to an election, which remains fairly close.
Ron Gilran, vice president of geopolitical risk company The Levantine Group, said: “Generally, it is very typical for Yisraeli Beiteinu [Lieberman’s political party] to radicalize their statements in a bid to gain votes. The educated voter knows that these kinds of things are a transparent attempt to garner popular support.”
Lieberman’s comments seem especially in poor taste now, due to the Islamic State’s (ISIS) notorious beheadings of their victims from nations all over the world. After his comments, Lieberman was referred by some as “Jewish ISIS."
Lieberman is one of many who support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection bid. With the election less than a week away, on Mar. 17, the incumbent Netanyahu currently trails his challenger, Isaac Herzog, by just two seats in the Israeli parliament.
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