Head of the Security Service Argaman: extremism in the public discourse might lead to Violence

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Jun 5, 2021

The head of the General Security Service, Nadav Argaman, issued a stern warning about the extremism in the public discourse in recent times, and said that there may be people who will interpret certain statements as a call for physical harm.
"The State of Israel regrets on its banner the principle of freedom of expression, this is an important and necessary principle in a democratic state," wrote Argaman, who did not coordinate the announcement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "At the same time, in recent times we have identified an increase and severe extremism in the violent and inciting discourse, with an emphasis on that which takes place on social networks. It is a discourse that includes serious utterances, using language and terms of incitement, incitement and even calls for violence and physical harm."

He added: "As the head of an organization dedicated to maintaining the security of the state and the order of the democratic regime and its institutions, I read and warn that this discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals, as permitting violent and illegal activities that may even harm the soul."
Crimson called on elected officials and opinion leaders to come out against the statements. "Along with the responsibility placed on the shoulders of the GSS, along with other law enforcement agencies, also on elected officials from all corners of the political spectrum, opinion leaders, clerics, educators and all citizens of Israel - a heavy responsibility is placed these days. It is our duty to come out with a clear and decisive call for an immediate cessation of the inciting and violent discourse. The responsibility for calming the winds and restraining the discourse rests on the shoulders of us all. "
Security sources noted that the unusual message in its timing and severity sees the overall intelligence picture and not just things that are published. "There is a discourse that could lead to bloodshed, and not necessarily towards a particular politician," they said. "It's not just on Twitter and social media. It's rampant and a fire that is hard to put out. There are horrible posts on the net and we do not know who sees it and who will act on their orders. People are responsible for every image of something that is pasted on someone. The fear is that it will continue. Timing is critical. "
Defense Minister Bnei Gantz also referred to the GSS chief's announcement, saying that "public leaders have a special responsibility and it seems in recent days that we have not learned the necessary lessons from past events. Anyone who tries to deny the legitimacy of basic democratic moves and ignites the fire of incitement also bears responsibility. I call on everyone to refrain from any violence. This is the time for all public leaders to speak out publicly and decisively and actively against violence in general and against a political background in particular. "
Meanwhile, right-wing elements are once again looking to warm up the atmosphere in Jerusalem and are organizing for the flag dance parade. Regional councils in Judea and Samaria, Zionism, the Religious Zionist Party and youth movements are the ones who want to hold the event.
While the police have not approved the parade at all and there will be a situation assessment on the incident only on Sunday. A political source clarified, similar to similar statements from last month, that this was a decision of the police and the professional echelon.
The source claimed that Israel is in a state of routine and without restrictions on its citizens, and even allows Jews to ascend the Temple Mount. Although the previous time also claimed that it was a decision of the police, the political echelon was the one who changed the route of the parade so that it would not pass through the Nablus Gate.
Security officials in Israel have expressed concern that the march could be a "reward" for Hamas and provide it with an excuse to continue the war and thus put Israel in an awkward position in negotiations. We also noted that the flag parade and the issue of Jerusalem could harm efforts to achieve calm.
Defense Minister Bnei Gantz this evening held a situation assessment with the participation of the chief of staff, the police commissioner, the attorney general, the commander of the Central Command, the coordinator of government operations in the territories and other security agencies, and decided not to hold the march, which he said could harm recent political processes.
 The assessment of the situation raised additional points that are expected to drain in the coming week, including the High Court hearing on Sheikh Jarrah scheduled for Wednesday, advancing talks on the US demand for a summit in Cairo regarding a long-term series with Hamas, and another sensitive issue on the agenda. The discussion also revealed that the parade would require many police forces for its security and various security officials recommended not to hold it at the current time and outline in the Old City.
His office said that "the Minister of Defense emphasized to all parties the need to adjust the outlines and conduct responsibly, and said that in light of the accumulation of expected events, there is an obligation to conduct with political, security and civic sensitivity."
Meanwhile, in recent days, the US administration has begged Israel through messages conveyed to Jerusalem, seeking to avoid steps that will ignite Jerusalem, as well as to give time to mediation efforts to achieve a comprehensive and long-term calm in the Gaza Strip. The same messages were conveyed to Gantz, who visited Washington this week, and the Americans asked him to prevent warming in Jerusalem.

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