Former MK Receives Death Threats

The envelope contained a news clipping dealing with Abesadze’s protest against a TV ad put out by the ultra-Orthodox Shas party during the recent election campaign.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Former MK Nino Abesadze (Labor) received a letter containing death threats on Thursday. The apparent basis for the letter, which arrived at the Knesset, was a hatred of Russians.

The envelope contained a news clipping dealing with Abesadze’s protest against a TV ad put out by the ultra-Orthodox Shas party during the recent election campaign. The ad became known as the “conversion dial-up” ad, which was viewed by many as denigrating immigrants from Russia. The sender of the letter had scrawled “A good Russian is a dead Russian,” adding, “What have the Russians brought to this country except prostitutes, thieves, manipulators and destitution?” Since Abesadze is no longer a Knesset member, the letter reached her only on Thursday, with other mail from the Knesset.

“This is the first time I’ve received hate mail based on my Russian origins,” Abesadze told Haaretz. “I’ve received threatening letters before, but they were always based on my political views and hatred of left-wing politicians.”

Upon opening the letter, Abesadze contacted Knesset security, who suggested she file a complaint with the police. In the outgoing Knesset, Abesadze served as a member of Kadima, and in the latest elections she was given the 19th spot on Labor’s list of candidates, a spot reserved for immigrants. With the election results giving Labor only 15 spots, she lost her seat in the Knesset.

MKs Nino Abesadze, right, and Shelly Yachimovich in the Knesset last year.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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