Father of Suspect in West Bank Arson Killings Calls President Rivlin 'Führer'

Son is detained for the killing of three members of the Dawabsheh family in Duma; three suspects are being denied access to attorneys.

President Reuven Rivlin, second from right, lights the menorah and sings joined by President Barack Obama, right, first lady Michelle Obama, left, and Nechama Rivlin, second from left, during the first of two Hanukkah receptions the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015.
AP

The father of a suspect in the firebombing of the Dawabsheh family home has called Reuven Rivlin “führer” after the president met with Barack Obama at the White House last week.

A number of Israeli youths were arrested for the July firebombing in the Palestinian village of Duma; an 18-month-old died immediately, while his father and mother died weeks later. Details of the investigation, including the identity of the detainees, remain under a gag order.

“I didn’t see a skullcap on the head of Führer Rivlin while he was lighting [Hanukkah] candles with the Arab at the Black House, and I am convinced that he didn’t do the blessing over the candles,” the suspect’s father has written on Facebook.

“But let’s say he did wear a kippa and said the blessings. You have no greater ‘covetous man vaunting himself, though he condemns the Lord’ in the history of the Jewish people,” the man wrote, borrowing from Psalm 10.

Since the arrests, the father has criticized the government to protest the conditions under which his son was being held. Last week he posted a picture with the caption “Bogie is living in Dumaland,” using Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s nickname.

He added: “If there is a smidgen of justice in this country, I would expect heads to roll when the truth in this case becomes clear, but this country is criminal, and how can a criminal pass judgment on itself?”

Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsheh family's home in the West Bank village of Duma, August 4, 2015.
AFP

In response to media reports that he made racist comments, the father wrote on Facebook: “It is not I who accused members of my people of choosing the path of terrorism, not I who sat with Breaking the Silence.”

He was referring to Rivlin’s participation at a Haaretz conference in New York where members of the Breaking the Silence veterans group, which seeks to expose misconduct by the Israeli army in the West Bank, were on hand.

“It is not I who is seen by public opinion as the most pathetic president in the history of the State of Israel. But that’s how the system works in the State of ‘the Jews’: turning the victim into the guilty party, as if the settlers were guilty for being murdered because they live in areas of confrontation,” he wrote.

“Then yes, I hate your president just as I hate all the institutions of the most anti-Semitic country in the world,” he added, apparently referring to Israel.

Graffiti stating “revenge” and “long live the king, the messiah” were painted on the Dawabshehs’ home and another torched home. A witness reported seeing four assailants flee toward the Jewish settlement of Ma’aleh Efraim. The army said Jewish terrorism was involved.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court approved a request by the Shin Bet security service to continue to bar three suspects from access to lawyers. The three have been in jail since the end of November.

By law, the head of the Shin Bet’s team of investigators can deny such access for up to 10 days. The Shin Bet can then ask for a total of 21 days from the start of detention.