Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Thursday at Israeli Arabs protesting his visit to a predominately Muslim community in northern Israel, where he was being honored by local leadership.
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Israeli Arab protesters greeted Netanyahu as he arrived at Ein Mahil, where he was invited by the head of the regional council despite anger from the local community. After taking to the stage and praising his government for funding Israeli Arab communities, Netanyahu blasted the demonstrators outside.
"I saw there was a protest at the entrance. They're holding signs of the Fatah, of the PLO," he said, refererring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' political faction, and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the umbrella organization that Abbas heads, which entered into the Oslo Accords with Israel that created the Palestinian Authority. "What are they protesting against? I ask you, against the millions being slaughtered and thrown from their homes in Syria, Iraq or Libya?"
"Against whom are you protesting?" he continued. "Against the only country that protects human rights? Against the country that set up a field hospital [near the border with Syria] to help the wounded? Against the state of Israel? You should be ashamed of yourself," Netanyahu said.
"We believe in progress, we believe in coexistence, and we work for that goal, and we will continue to do it together, here in Ein Mahil, and everywhere," he said.
Netanyahu was invited by Molid Abu Layl, who heads the Ein Mahil Regional Council and cited Netanyahu's contribution to the community. However, the local community published an open letter against the visit, accusing Netanyahu of "viewing the Arab minority as a threat."