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PHOTOS: Rightists award student who persecuted 'left-wing' teacher

Far-right former MK Michael Ben-Ari and notorious Hebron settler Baruch Marzel hold an award ceremony for a high school student who tried to have her teacher fired for expressing “left-wing” views.

A "Jewish State award" given to Sapir sabah, during a ceremony orgenized by Michael Ben-Ari, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

The “Jewish State award” given to Sapir Sabah at a ceremony organized by nationalist former MK Michael Ben-Ari, Kiryat Tivon, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

A very strange ceremony took place in the small town of Kiryat Tivon, in northern Israel on Sunday. Former Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari gave momentarily famous high-school student Sapir Sabah the “Jewish State Award” at an event attended by a variegated mix of hardline settlement leaders, followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane and anti-African refugee activists from south Tel Aviv. Outside, a group of local residents protested the ceremony, calling those inside “fascists” and shouting, ”Tivon is not Hebron.” Police stood in the middle and prevented the two sides from clashing.

The award commended Sabah for “bravely standing up for the dignity of the nation of Israel” and defending the honor of its soldiers against those “dirty pieces of debris” who seek to undermine the Jewish people’s hold on the Land of Israel. Earlier this year the 12th grader publicly denounced her civics teacher, Adam Verete, for exposing his students to “extremist left-wing views” – allegedly by questioning the Israeli army’s morality and the legitimacy of a Jewish state. Months before she herself will be drafted into the army, Sabah found those views extremely distressing and wrote a letter to the education minister. The affair might have ended there if not for the intervention of Michael Ben-Ari, who reposted the letter on Facebook and took up her cause. Ben-Ari’s campaign turned the affair into a public battle against those he accused of “poisoning the wells of the education system.”

Sapir Sabah recieves a "Jewish State" award, during a ceremony orgenized by Michael Ben-Ari , Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Sapir Sabah receives the “Jewish State” award, during a ceremony organized by  former MK Michael Ben-Ari , Kiryat Tivon, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Followers of Michael Ben-Ari shout violent slogans at Kiryat Tivon residents, who protest against an award ceremony for Sapir Sabah, Israeli, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Followers of Michael Ben-Ari shout violent threats at Kiryat Tivon residents, as they protest against the award ceremony for Sapir Sabah, Kiryat Tivon, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Kiryat Tivon residents protest against an award ceremony for Sapir Tivon orgenized by KM Michael Ben-Ari and his followers, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Kiryat Tivon residents protest against the award ceremony for Sapir Tivon organized by former MK Michael Ben-Ari and his followers, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

In the ensuing nation-wide furor, the teacher almost lost his job. At the same time, the affair brought back into the spotlight Michael Ben-Ari, whose popularity has somewhat waned since his glory days of 2012. Ben-Ari was known for organizing a series of protests against African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv which eventually resulted in a violent pogrom that saw a racist and xenophobic mob attack asylum seekers and their and shops. Some of the same people who were at the forefront of those protests stood outside the award ceremony on Sunday, shouting abuse at those who came to confront their celebration of nationalism.

The evening was a stark reminder that the hyper-nationalism usually associated with hardline West Bank settlements has a tendency to creep back into Israel proper — even to small periphery communities like Kirya Tivon. Baruch Marzel, one of the leaders of the Hebron Jewish settlement, joked during the ceremony that the same leftists who usually want him to “get out of Hebron” were outside shouting at him to go back to Hebron.

Kiryat Tivon residents sing Israeli songs during a counter-protest against an award ceremony for Sapir Tivon orgenized by KM Michael Ben-Ari and his followers, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Kiryat Tivon residents sing Israeli songs during a counter-protest against an award ceremony for Sapir Tivon organized by former MK Michael Ben-Ari and his followers, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

A follower of Michael Ben-Ari and Baroch Marzel being detained by police after throwing a bottle at Kiryat Tivon residents, who protest against an award ceremony for Sapir Sabah, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

A follower of Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel being detained by police after throwing a bottle at Kiryat Tivon residents, who were protesting against the award ceremony for Sapir Sabah, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Baruch Marzel speaking during the  ceremony, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Baruch Marzel speaking during the ceremony, Kiryat Tivon, Israel, February 9, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Related:
On the Adam Verete affair and anti-democratic trends: Three notes
Embattled teacher compared to Dreyfus
Student’s ‘political persecution’ of teacher reaches national stage

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    COMMENTS

    1. Giora Me'ir

      The Triumph of the Snitch.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Rightists are such ugly people (both inside and outside). That girl reminds me of Roseanne.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        The pathology of Jihadis re women is intriguing, isn’t it, Danny? The ones they can’t shut-up and/or stuff up in burqas and/or keep hidden their bedrooms, they shoot in the head (Malala Yousafzai) or pour acid in the face (Ameneh Bahrami) or call whore, prostitute and other sexist names (Hershi Ali), etc. It seems only Jewesses know how to put Jihadis and their apologists in their place (MK Michaeli, Sapir Sabah, etc.). Beware timid Danny, the lionesses at Zion’s gate are man-eaters and will really mess up Jihadis (like you, MK Majadele, etc.) and their apologists.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Dan, ridiculing appearance isn’t going to win friends and influence people. It is also completely ad hominem.

      There are three bits of good news in all of this, albeit won the hard way:

      1) Almost fired isn’t identical to fired. While I am certain the nationalist right has muzzled teachers to some extent for incorrect thinking and speaking, they failed in their primary goal.

      2) The awards ceremony is not State sponsored–yet–as it would be under the Soviets, and might be, depending on who was in power, with the National Socialists.

      3) “Sabah found those views extremely distressing and wrote a letter to the education minister. The affair might have ended there if not for the intervention of Michael Ben-Ari, who reposted the letter on Facebook and took up her cause.” : Contrary to my initial surmise, the Education Minister didn’t propel this forward, Ben-Ari did via media. Which is protected under free speech. Just like advocacy of Boycott should be protected, but isn’t. Oh well.

      Unfortunately, these mild wins have no solace for the teacher. The accusing student, however, has a feel good award ceremony.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Just stating a fact.

        She got a hero’s welcome in the knesset. What does that say about Israel? John Kerry is SOOOOO wasting his time (like trying to reason with a lunatic – good for a few laughs, but ultimately pointless).

        Israel has officially gone over to the deep end.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Greg, you and AndrewR have post on the “settler” thread.

        Reply to Comment
        • What? You mean my comment was posted there? I’ve never been to the thread, don’t even know how to get there. I only visit 972.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Hihi. Very funny.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger, I was not trying to be funny. I took you literally, I guess, thinking “settler thread” meant another blog. I do that sometimes. If you want to direct my attention, assume I am an idiot and provide the link.

            Look, as we Americans of my age say, look, when you first came onto 972 it was with much force. I was drinking what I thought a mild amount of caffeine but found you induced a hyper focus. So I went off all coffee. It seems to have helped.

            I think you are a crazed right nationalist, but you are very articulate and have things worth reading. The views you articulate, which seems very pro settlement, need to be heard here. I suggest you back off a bit. Maybe you can’t. Maybe your love demands what you write. But I can already tell you that I am beginning to avoid your comments. We have to be able to talk to one another. I realized I wasn’t doing that, so got off coffee.

            I have not written this to insult you at all. By the way, I have panic disorder. It ruined my life, truly. I thought, older, the caffeine wouldn’t get to me as much, but it still does. It made my buttons too easy to push.

            Reply to Comment
    4. The Trespasser

      1)… they failed in their primary goal.

      Given that their primal goal was to make that teacher stop spreading his lies and propaganda, I would not say they they had entirely failed.

      2) The awards ceremony is not State sponsored–yet–as it would be under the Soviets, and might be, depending on who was in power, with the National Socialists.

      (facepalm)

      3) Just like advocacy of Boycott should be protected, but isn’t. Oh well.

      If advocacy of Boycott should be protected, than advocacy of Arab-Free Palestine should be protected either.

      P.S. Greg, did you see my last post at http://972mag.com/an-israeli-citizen-is-being-held-in-administrative-detention/86767/ ?

      Reply to Comment
      • No, Trespasser, I hadn’t returned to that thread. I went using your link.

        I will not reply there, but will address your crime/terrorism distinction here. If the State can remove an individual by predefining his action as terror and not crime, the State effectively opts out of judicial review of its actions. I would say that terror is a crime, but one which can have need for closed hearings. A closed hearing should not, however, be closed to legal representation of the accused. Yes, I know that means leaks may occur, but the lawyer involved can be arrested or investigated in turn, with high penalty for leaks. One could, although I would be disinclined, require that attorneys be precertified before taking on such a client. If leaks otherwise occurred, I can see that as an option, but the certification process must be impartial and in advance, so an attorney simply has the certification attached to his list of qualifications, and one should be able to appeal being disqualified. Yes, a hindrance and bother. But the State must not be allowed to define what is subject to review and what is not.

        You say on the other thread that settlers have been placed in administrative detention as well. That is equally wrong; they should have immediate access to an attorney with right of judicial hearing.

        What I think is happening is that administrative detention, which was a necessity during the suicide bombing war of 2000-6 (although I have no doubt misused as well), has generalized into a convenient tool for the executive. You note on the other tread that my example of a riot is not like an “armed struggle.” Actually, there is a similarity between a riot and 2000-6: in both cases, enforcement and courts can be both overwhelmed, making administrative detention unavoidable. But this is not the case at present. I do not care what other countries do about court review of terror charges; I care about what Israel and the US do. I hold them to a superior standard because I think them capable of reaching it. Enforcing powers often abuse their trust. If they say “clear evidence” but provide nothing to a third party for verification, abuse will come. I could give examples in the US. Finally, I don’t think you will find judges much of a hindrance. Judges are people too, living national ideologies, and will quite often assent to the State’s request; indeed, a High Court panel did not an African refugee matter occurring at the fence. But there may be a few judges who balk–and that is all to the good; you need that to find ways out of blind alleys.

        I hope this goes some way to providing a response.

        Reply to Comment
        • “did not an African refugee matter” should have read “did on an …”

          Reply to Comment
    5. Vadim

      1. The teacher was never in a danger of being fired. He had a hearing following the complaint of the student. It was THE TEACHER that brought up the idea of being fired. He said in the hearing that he will not come to school if she’s there and they can fire him if they wish. That was the first time the topic was even brought up.

      2. The teacher was out of line, got reprimanded and that was it. I bet you all remember what happens when a teacher expresses opinions that the left doesn’t like. Israel Shiran was such a teacher, he got fired over something smaller by direct intervention of then Minister of Education Yuli Tamir.

      3. The people using Sabah in this ceremony are nothing more than opportunists. I don’t like them, not because of their opinions, but because I find them vulgar.

      4. I don’t like kids calling grownups traitors and I don’t like all the honors she’s getting. This is nothing more than a dispute gone out of hand.

      5. Danny – like always, your comment is a gem. You sound like a truly beautiful person.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Tania

      I see that history really does repeat itself. There was a time during WW2 and the occupation in East Germany where it was encouraged by the government to report your family, friends etc to the Stasi (Secret Police) if you felt someone was voicing an opinion against the regime at the time. Once reported, the Stasi would pick you up and take you for so called brainwashing. Not only was the individual singled out, but his her whole family.
      What they are rewarding in the above picture is pure persecution.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >…report your family, friends etc to the Stasi (Secret Police) if you felt someone was voicing an opinion against the regime at the time…

        I wonder, whether there would be a day when a non-brain-damaged Leftist would step on mother Earth…

        Reply to Comment
        • JG

          Maybe you should start a genocide on those leftists. We all know that this is your secrest fascist fantasy, clown…

          Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        1. This was also the case in the USSR and other regimes. There’s no reason to bring Germany into it.

        2. Regardless of what you think about the teacher and his views – he was way out of line. There’s no reason his students should know his political view.

        3. The whole persecution thing is a fabrication, created as part of the usual hysterical reaction of the left. Do you call the Ariel Zilber affair persecution as well? What about Israel Shiran? Or the way Avri Gilad is treated after he expressed the wrong opinions?

        4. They are just a bunch of cynical politicians.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Steve

      Sorry but how is someone going to promote bigotry against the Jewish people and declare Muslim states OK yet a Jewish state “racist,” and then THAT person complains about bigotry? What?

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Don’t you know? Arabs have a right to exterminate Jews because Arabs have such right, but Jews can’t defend themselves from Arabs, because it would hurt Arabs’ right to exterminate Jews. The “beauty” of the “progressive” “left”.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Rachamim Dwek

      Informing a school superintendent of abuse by a teacher is NOT being a “snitch.” Children should be able to enjoy an education devoid of overt indoctrination, not to mention being free of teachers bragging of their support for terrorists. Of course had she been complaining about a teacher pushing students in support of “Settlements” both “972” and the hypocrites whining here would be screaming the loudest about Ms. Sabah being a hero.

      As for “972” using the term “Pogrom” to describe a demonstration where noone was subjected to violence, shame on you- not to mention that the author ought to find themself a decent dictionary since a “Pogrom” is a very narrow and specific term that has nothing to do with grassroots demonstrations.

      Hypocrisy and ignorance, par for the course.

      Reply to Comment
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