Shin Bet Was in Contact With Father of Groom in Notorious 'Wedding of Hate' Video

Family claims text messages prove that Shin Bet knew about the wedding, participated in it, and could have stopped the event.

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Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma.
Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma. Credit: Courtesy of Channel 2

The Shin Bet was in contact with the family of the groom on the day of the so-called "wedding of hate," in which radical settlers were dancing with weapons and stabbing a photograph of a Palestinian toddler killed in a West Bank arson attack, Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

According to the report, a Shin Bet officer sent a text message to the father of the groom, Yakir Eshbal, before the wedding, reading "Congratulations, Mazel Tov." Eshbal replied, "Thank you, I'll probably see you at the event if I could identify you just please don't come with a ski mask, so they (the guests) won't be frightened." The Shin Bet officer then texted: "Don't drink too much, so you'll be able to get back home," and Eshbal said: " You can drive me back [home] You already know the way."

The text messages, the family said in the report, prove that the Shin Bet knew about the wedding, participated in the wedding, were aware of the happenings at the wedding, and could have stopped the event. "If the Shin Bet was there, why didn't it stop them during the event?" they asked.

The Shin Bet said in response that it had contacted the family as part of "a dedicated efforts to prevent terror acts" in which officers contact family of people suspected of extreme and violence acts in order to ask for their assistance in curbing potentially criminal activities and return suspects to normative behavior.

Police seized video of the so-called "wedding of hate" last week. The clip features Orthodox Jewish youths dancing with guns, knives and firebombs. One guest stabs a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, the toddler killed along with his parents in the Duma firebomb attack over the summer. According to Channel 10, the couple getting married was "very well know in the radical right."

The video has been condemned across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the images "shocking", said it exposes "the real face of a group that poses danger to Israeli society and security." He then went on to bolster the Shin Bet, which has come under fire by right wing groups after questions were raised about the interrogation tactics used on the Duma arson suspects.

Last week, Channel 2 aired a new video from the wedding, which shows extremist Jewish leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Bentzi Gopstein in attendance. Ben Gvir is the lawyer for the suspects in the Duma attack and Gopstien leads the firebrand anti-Arab group Lehava.

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