Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a group of Jewish extremists “a danger to Israeli society” following the broadcast Wednesday night of video taken at a wedding where guests appeared to celebrate the burning to death of a Palestinian baby.
“The shocking pictures that were broadcast this evening show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Channel 10 reported that those attending the wedding where guns and knives were brandished included friends of men detained by Israeli security forces suspected of being connected to a July arson attack. (Image source: Channel 10)
Israel’s Channel 10 news obtained cellphone video that was taken at the wedding, in which extremist Israelis passed around army-issued automatic weapons and let children also dance with the guns. Other guests could be seen waving knives, and one man held what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail.
The most shocking part of the video appeared to show a wedding guest repeatedly stabbing a photo of 18-month-old baby Ali Dawabsha who was burned to death along with his parents in a July 31 arson attack on the family home in the village of Duma in the West Bank. Israeli investigators believe Jewish extremists were behind the attack.
“We are not prepared to accept people who deny the laws of the state and do not view themselves as subject to them,” Netanyahu said.
Channel 10 marked with a red circle the moment in the video (around 1:12) that guests began stabbing the photo.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service arrested an unspecified number of Jewish suspects in connection with the arson attack and has reportedly been treating them in a similar manner to Palestinian terrorism suspects, which has elicited condemnation from their lawyers and supporters.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed Wednesday that the treatment in custody included preventing them from meeting with their lawyers and depriving them of sleep.
Answering criticism about the Shin Bet’s treatment of the detainees in an attempt to elicit confessions, Bennett of the right-wing Jewish Home party called the attack an act of terrorism.
“They burned a family in their sleep,” Bennett said in a speech Wednesday. “They want to tear apart the state of Israel. These are terrorists.”
Channel 10 reported that the wedding where the video was taken was of a couple “known very well in the extreme right wing,” adding that among the friends of the newlyweds were also friends of those arrested in connection with the arson attack.
Reporting on the suspects’ identity is subject to a court gag order in Israel; however, the U.S. Jewish newspaper the Forward reported that one of the suspects holds both U.S. and Israeli citizenship.