Lawmakers blast anonymous graffiti branding Israeli president a 'Nazi apostate'
A bevvy of Israeli lawmakers including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday condemned graffiti branding President Reuven Rivlin a Nazi.
The graffiti was reportedly daubed overnight on the wall of the Boston Talmud Torah school in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak in central Israel.
It read "Rivlin is a Nazi apostate".
The president visited the school in August to mark the opening of the ultra-Orthodox school year.
Following a chorus of outrage from Israeli lawmakers across the political spectrum, Netanyahu released a statement on Wednesday saying that "writings of this kind deserve every condemnation and there is no place for them in Israel's public discourse."
Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely urged the police to open an investigation into what she termed a "serious criminal offense" while Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein said public debate in Israel is "deteriorating from day to day."
The public uproar comes only days after Rivlin raised heckles in a fiery speech at the opening of the Knesset's -- the Israeli parliament -- winter session.
"We are witnessing today the winds of revolution or a second coup. This time, majority rule is the sole ruler," Rivlin said.
"The media -- political? The democratic institutions -- political? All of them, from the secretaries to the attorney general – political? The supreme court -- political? The security forces -- political -- and even the Israel Defense Forces are political?" Rivlin said.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog appeared to blame Netanyahu's own address before the Knesset for the graffiti. The Israeli premier blamed "sourpusses" (in Hebrew, "pickles") in the media and opposition for talking down the country.
“Here it comes — two days ago I said that we will soon be calling President Rivlin a traitor,” Herzog said. “We started with pickles and very quickly we got to Nazi apostates.”
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