An Israeli woman employed as a radio host with the Israeli government-run Army Radio was fired from her job Thursday after expressing on Facebook that she could understand the frustration of a Bedouin man who allegedly ran over a police officer who had come to destroy the Bedouin’s village.
Khen Elmaleh wrote on her Facebook page, “I would also run over a police officer if I were being removed from my home in order to make room for a town built for those more powerful than me”.
Her boss, Army Radio Commander Yaron Deckel, contacted her to fire her from her job – then he tweeted that those who support running over police have no place in the radio station.
It is still unclear whether the Bedouin man, Yaqub Musa Abu Qi’an, ran over the officer on purpose, or if he lost control of his vehicle – as local villagers say. After his vehicle hit the officer, he was shot multiple times and killed.
According to the leftist Israeli +972 magazine, “Elmaleh’s post was a sincere attempt at putting oneself in another’s shoes, but beyond that it also sought to draw a connection between the Bedouin struggle to remain on their land, and the decades-long Mizrahi struggle for public housing and against evictions. Perhaps Elmaleh thought that expressing empathy with those who have lost or are about to lose their homes — to try and imagine what it might feel like to fight a seemingly endless battle against a government that doesn’t exactly want you here — would strike a chord with Israeli Jews. Perhaps Elmaleh believed that there was solidarity to be had among various the various groups living in Israel who are subject, day in and day out, to the brute force of the authorities. But by early morning the politicians and media had already portrayed Abu Qi’an as an ISIS-supporting terrorists. Elmaleh, in effect, had crossed the Rubicon: she expressed support for the ‘enemy.'”
Following her dismissal from her job, Elmaleh received many comments to her Facebook page – many of them critical of her earlier post, and calling her a supporter of murder and terrorism. She responded, “I do not support murder, and I will not let the headlines turn me into a supporter of murder,” Elmaleh continued, adding that today it may have been the Bedouin fighting for their rights, but “tomorrow it could be Mizrahi residents in south Tel Aviv. How easy is it to turn this whole discussion into one over a ‘vehicular attack.’”