Amos Oz Calls Perpetrators of Hate Crimes 'Hebrew neo-Nazis'

Writer and Israel Prize laureate says 'hilltop youth' and 'price tag' are whitewashed terms 'for a monster that should be called by its name.'

Ilan Assayag

The writer and Israel Prize laureate Amoz Oz said on Friday that those responsible for hate crimes against Arabs and Christians are "Hebrew neo-Nazis."

Speaking at a Tel Aviv event marking his 75th birthday, Oz said that terms like "hilltop youth" and "price tag" are "sweet names for a monster that needs to be called what it is: Hebrew neo-Nazis groups."

Oz added that in his mind, perhaps the only difference between neo-Nazis around the world and perpetrators of hate crimes in Israel is that "our neo-Nazi groups enjoy the support of numerous nationalist or even racist legislators, as well as rabbis who give them what is in my view pseudo-religious justification."

Former Knesset Speaker and presidential nominee Reuven Rivlin, who also attended the event, said that such a comparison is out of line, Army Radio reported.

On Friday morning, anti-Christian graffiti was found on a wall adjacent to a Roman church in Jerusalem, the latest in a wave of hate crime incidents across Israel.

The Israel Police and the Shin Bet security service fear that right-wing extremists might exploit Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land on May 24-26 to carry out a major hate crime to drum up media attention.