Be’er Sheva Man Charged Over anti-Arab Facebook Group

Lior Cohen called for getting together to attack Arabs and make them understand 'that this isn’t their country, it’s the Jews’ country.’

Shirly Seidler
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Members of right-wing organization Lehava protesting the wedding of a Jewish-born woman and a Muslim man in Rishon Letzion, August 17, 2014.
Members of right-wing organization Lehava protesting the wedding of a Jewish-born woman and a Muslim man in Rishon Letzion, August 17, 2014. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Shirly Seidler

A Be’er Sheva man was indicted yesterday on charges of incitement to racism and to violence or terrorism, after creating a Facebook group called “A real Arab man is an Arab in the grave.”

The indictment, which was approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, was one of several issued in the past two months against Israelis for creating Facebook groups calling for attacks on Arabs.

Lior Cohen, 22, created his group in the wake of the abduction and murder in June of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. He used it to repeatedly call for violence against Arabs and urge people to band together to commit such violence.

In one post, for instance, Cohen wrote, “To everyone who wants revenge, we’re here to make it come true for you. Join us in screwing and blowing up every Arab you come across!!!” Another post said, “We need to add as many people as possible and simply go after them!! Let’s get together, and not just on Facebook!!!”

‘Round up as many as possible’

On one occasion, he posted a picture of a wounded Arab and wrote, “This is what we need to do to all of them!!” That post sparked a discussion with two other users about the possibility of getting together to attack Arabs. One wrote, “You’ve got an idea here, bro — round up as many people as possible, set a place and time and start pounding their faces everywhere.” Another said, “I’m in.”

Cohen described his goal as doing whatever he could to make the Arabs understand that Israel is the Jews’ state, so they don’t belong here.

In one post, for instance, he wrote, “Dear Jews, this isn’t the first or the second or even the third time violence has been done to our brothers and friends. We need to put an end to this, not to shut our mouths and after three days forget about it and go on with our lives. We need to make them afraid so they won’t want to walk down our streets. I know our amazing police will try to stop us and I believe there will be arrests, but we’ll do everything, but everything, to explain, slowly and gently, that this isn’t their country; this is the Land of Israel, the Jews’ country!!”

One member of the ground responded, “The revolution will come only from the citizenry! We’ve had it with Arab politicians and a police force of corrupt people in skirts. Power is shifting to our hands!!!”

The indictment noted that around 2,000 people had joined Cohen’s Facebook group. Another Facebook group opened after the teens’ murder, “The Al-Yahud gang” (“yahud” is Arabic for “Jew”), had around 3,000 followers. The group’s owner, a man from the southern Israeli town of Arad, was charged in July with incitement to racism, incitement to violence or terror and offending religious sensibilities.

Police say they are worried by the sharp rise in anti-Arab sentiment on the Internet after the kidnapping, which continued during the recent war in Gaza. Its cyber-crime unit is investigating a number of cases of alleged anti-Arab incitement.

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