Sheikh Omar Abu Sara, a radical Islamic preacher who implored his followers on the Temple Mount to “slaughter Jews,” whom he dehumanized as “monkeys and pigs,” was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for incitement at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Sunday morning.
Abu Sara, 51, has a lengthy record of disparaging Jews in sermons at Judaism’s holiest site. He was recorded outside al-Aqsa Mosque in December of 2014 calling for their collective slaughter.
In the inflammatory video, which was subsequently posted to YouTube, Abu Sara describes Jews as "the most evil creatures ever on the Earth."
"Jews are a people, and God made them monkeys and pigs," he said during the diatribe. "We live in days when we are in close proximity with the Jews. I say to the Jews clearly: It's time to slaughter you. It's time to fight you. It's time to kill you."
"God willing, we are ready," he continued. "We... will release this land from your filth. We are waiting for the day – for the moment – to slaughter you."
Shortly after the hate speech was posted online, and viewed tens of thousands of times, Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick, who was released from a hospital three weeks earlier after nearly dying in an assassination attempt, submitted a formal police complaint.
Noting that Glick, 50, was critically wounded in a hail of bullets fired by Islamic Jihad member Moataz Hejazi following a lecture at the capital's Menachem Begin Heritage Center on October 29, his attorney said such incitement must be severely punished.
"Glick personally experienced that [such rhetoric] can lead to incitement and attempted murder," his attorney said in the complaint. "As someone who has experienced firsthand the results of incitement against Jews in general, and with regard to the Temple Mount in particular, he cannot stand by and watch [Abu Sara's] incitement."
Citing the proven corollary between incitement and murder, the attorney invoked the Holocaust and demanded that police promptly open an investigation into Abu Sara and his involvement in the attacks and rioting that engulfed the country that summer.
"Threats and incitement against Jews because they are Jews are the basis and cause of the Holocaust," the complaint stated. "We must not allow anyone, or any cause, to incite and threaten Jews only because they are Jews. Therefore, we call on the Israel Police to prevent the rhetoric of violence against Jews."
On Sunday, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Shmuel Herbst noted the distinction between free speech and incitement to murder, before sentencing Abu Sara, who contended that he is not a racist, but was rather reciting quotes from the Koran.
"I look at the defendant and I see a man," said Herbst after the sentencing. "It is a great shame that he looks at me and sees a monkey or a pig, who should be slaughtered without mercy. What a shame."
Noting that the attempt against his life may have resulted from Abu Sara's incitement, Glick, who has largely recovered and went on to become an MK for Likud, said he welcomed the sentence as an appropriate response to deadly rhetoric.
"I'm happy that the court made the decision," Glick said by phone Sunday afternoon.
"We are in a war against those calling for the slaughter of Jews. Israel must show zero tolerance and remain uncompromising in its battle with various agitators. The State of Israel must act immediately to create a deterrent [against deadly incitement], and to make sure that all the inciters and their supporters go to prison."
Adding that the ongoing violence against Israelis has been dubbed the "lone-wolf intifada," Glick said the "agitators are the heads of the snake," and must be imprisoned.
"Who sends these people?" he asked rhetorically. "Those who incite them, and that is why they are the most dangerous people right now – those people standing in the mosques and inciting them – specifically calling them to 'go slaughter Jews.'"
By Daniel K. Eisenbud
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