Nazareth police said Friday they had arrested an 18-year-old who admitted to creating and distributing a caricature depicting the murder of a mayoral candidate amid a tense vote recount and an upcoming court ruling.
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The police also arrested another man suspected of firing shots at the house of the Hadash party secretary in Nazareth a few days earlier.
Hadash is a Jewish-Arab left-wing party. In Israel’s municipal elections last October, Ali Salam toppled Hadash’s Ramiz Jaraisy, the incumbent, to become Nazareth mayor.
But in a vote recount, Jaraisy has gone from losing to Salam by 22 votes to winning by nine. On Monday, the Nazareth District Court will rule on Salam’s appeal, which is expected to determine the winner of the election and end the legal battle. Salam is a former deputy mayor to Jaraisy.
Hadash calls the caricature, which depicts a man shooting Jaraisy in the heart, incitement to murder. The party demands that all parties in the city condemn the drawing.
The caption reads: “Better than court foot-dragging.” The police have told Jaraisy that his life is in danger, and he is receiving special protection.
The caricature is thought to be based on one created in 2011, when Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by rebels in the north African country. In the latest caricature, Gadhafi’s head is replaced by Jaraisy’s, with “Hadash” written on a book beside him.