The mayor of the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, Yair Revivo, threatened an Arab councilwoman on Saturday that he would “give [her] name to the Shin Bet to deal with,” claiming that she had posted incitement on Facebook.
Lod was the backdrop of recent violent clashes between Jews and Arabs. Two weeks ago, Israeli government declared a state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew in the city. During the 11 days of rioting in the city, the Arab city council members boycotted informal city council meetings.
Councilwoman Fida Shehade posted on Facebook Friday that the municipality was harassing her while failing to provide basic municipal services. She also claimed that the municipality sent inspectors to her home on Friday demanding the removal of a canvas covering that that her father had installed to protect her home from stone-throwing.
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“Since the beginning of the events, the Lod municipality has decided not to provide services to the Arab community in Lod. And today they decided to come and destroy our canvas covering in the back of the house after it was assaulted three times. The purpose of the pergola was to protect the house and the purpose of the municipality today was punishment,” Shehade wrote.
Following the post, Revivo messaged Shehade privately, writing to her: “Fida, stop inciting. Enough already. We’re trying to calm things down and you’re lighting a fire. You leave me no choice. If you don’t stop I’m going to give your name to the Shin Bet to deal with.”
“The Shin Bet is not the police. The moment you’re marked there you’ll be under surveillance for your whole life. And so I suggest you stop this incitement and stop this violent discourse. It can be dangerous,” Revivo added.
Shehade said that Revivo “even before this had not liked my interviews on television,” even though she had not mentioned him in these interviews. “The word incitement has nothing to do with this," she said. "He didn’t tell me what the problem was with the interviews, and as far as he’s concerned, we have to keep silent until everything is over.”
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The Lod municipality said in a statement: “Fida Shehade, as a council member, took over public land and fenced it without a permit. She received a warning notice from the municipality and is trying to spark negative discourse. It should be made clear that Shehade has incited a great deal over the past two weeks to heat up nationalist discourse, while identifying as a ‘proud Palestinian.’ Complaints were filed with the police, because the entities in charge of dealing with nationalist incitement are the police and the Shin Bet. Over the past few days the atmosphere in the city has calmed down and Mayor Yair Revivo and most of the local leadership are working to promote tolerant and respectful discourse among the residents.”
The municipality provided no proof of its claims of statements of incitement by Shehade.