Shin Bet Instructs Rivlin to File Police Complaint After Threatened Following Palestinian Baby's Death

President posted message to Facebook condemning the murder and urging restraint and co-existence; responses included threats to his life and accused him of being 'traitor' and 'terrorist.'

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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President Rivlin speaking during a demonstration against violence, Jerusalem, Aug. 1, 2015.
President Rivlin speaking during a demonstration against violence, Jerusalem, Aug. 1, 2015. Credit: Gali Tibbon
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The Shin Bet has instructed the President's Office to file a police complaint over threats made against President Reuven Rivlin, following his condemnation of the arson attack that killed an 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh in the West Bank last week.

The Jerusalem District Police have yet to receive the complaint.

Rivlin harshly condemned the perpetrators of the arson attack, who are suspected to be right-wing Jewish extremists. Rivlin also spoke out against the public atmosphere of incitement that bred the incidents.

"Flames have engulfed our country," President Reuven Rivlin said at a demonstration in Jerusalem's Zion Square Saturday night over the stabbing at the Gay Pride Parade in the capital. "Flames of violence, flames of hatred, flames of false, distorted and twisted beliefs. Flames which permit bloodshed in the name of the Torah, in the name of the law, in the name of morality, in the name of a love for the land of Israel. "

On the day that Dawabsheh was killed and his family seriously wounded, Rivlin posted a message in both Hebrew and Arabic, denouncing that attack. "More than feeling shame, I feel pain," Rivlin wrote. "Pain over the murder of a little baby. Pain that members of my nation chose this way of terror and lost their sense of humanity. Their path is not my path. Their path is not our path. Their path is not the path of the State of Israel and it is not the path of the Jewish people."

In his post, Rivlin urged readers to show restraint. "During these painful moments, I turn to you, to the Palestinian people, to all law-abiding citizens, and ask you not to give in to feels of anger and rage. This is a time for us to link arms," he wrote. "We must let the legal establishment carry out its duties and be careful not to let ourselves get dragged into harmful and needless deeds despite the pain and the sorrow, we must continue to believe in our ability to build the bridges of co-existence, of a life together. We must not let terror win."

Rivlin's post received more than 10,000 likes and some 2,000 responses. Despite his call for coexistence and compassion, many of the responses were hateful and violent, including threats on his life and accusing him of being a "terrorist" and a "traitor". Another post, written following his speech at the Jerusalem rally, received many of the same responses.

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