NSC officials to FADC: Not sure which cabinet will deal with incitement


Two officials from the National Security Council, Rani Peled and Amit Aviram, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs Defense Committee (FADC) on Monday that the cabinet was not holding any hearings regarding problems of incitement, and that if it did, it was not clear which cabinet would do so.

The unprecedented answer from the NSC officials reflected the unique political moment currently facing the country, when there is an expectation that a new government is about to take over, but it is not final, and the professional level of the government is unclear on who is giving them orders.

This response came after a question from FADC Chairwoman Orna Barbivai about whether the cabinet was holding hearings on the issue and giving directives to government agencies about handling it.

Barbivai said she had insisted on holding the hearing publicly because the incitement was public, but that Argaman had only been willing to participate in a closed door hearing.

Argaman’s warnings were interpreted as mainly directed to a mix of statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or his supporters, against members of the new expected government.

Earlier, Barbivai framed the complexity of the challenge of tacking political incitement in light of the need to maintain free speech for leading officials.   

Some incitement “is connected to the political sector…how do we deal with incitement when it is connected to politics?”

Still she said that when the chief of the Shin Bet is worried by trends on social media “both in quantity and in severity,” the political class and the FADC must take notice.

Deputy State Attorney for Special Matters Shlomi Abramson reported that no probe had yet been opened for any of the recent political incitement.

He said that the prosecution is generally waiting for the police to bring cases to them.

Abramson did report that five incitement indictments were filed regarding Jewish-Arab ethnic strife related to the May 10-21 Gaza War for social media posts, including against three Arabs and two Jews.

Senior police investigations commander Dudu Boani said that social media trends are being followed and analyzed from a legal perspective to see if they fit the category for opening a criminal probe.

He described there still being challenges in tracing and handling such issues, as opposed to how much easier it is to locate, arrest and prosecute persons who commit crimes in the physical world.





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