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Minister pulls plug on Israeli-Arab terrorist’s book launch

Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri orders an ‎Arab town to nix plans for an event in a publicly funded community center for a book by Walid ‎Daka, who killed IDF soldier Moshe Tamam ‎in 1984.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. Credit: Wikipedia.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. Credit: Wikipedia.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has ordered the northern ‎Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya to cancel plans to ‎host a book launch for a convicted ‎terrorist. ‎

The event was to mark the release of The Story of ‎the Oil Secret, ‎a children’s book penned by Walid ‎Daka, an Arab-Israeli terrorist who was convicted of ‎the abduction and murder of Israel Defense Forces’ soldier Moshe Tamam ‎in 1984.‎

Daka, who hails from Baqa al-Gharbiya, was ‎sentenced to life in prison. He continues to deny ‎any involvement in the ‎murder and has unsuccessfully ‎petitioned for a new trial several times. ‎

According to reports in Israeli media, the town ‎‎planned to host the event in a publicly funded ‎‎community center, giving Deri the authority to order ‎‎it be canceled.‎

Deri’s decision followed an appeal against the event ‎‎by Tamam’s family, an organization representing ‎‎disabled IDF soldiers and right-wing activist Shai ‎‎Glick.‎

‎“The State of Israel will not give a platform to ‎launch the writings of a terrorist in a public ‎building belonging to the council,” Deri said ‎on Tuesday.‎

‎“This is a man who murdered an IDF soldier and is ‎serving a life sentence. We have a duty to preserve ‎the dignity of Moshe Tamam and not allow the ‎terrorist to use the local council’s facilities to ‎launch his book.”

The interior minister further barred Baqa al-‎Gharbiya ‎Council Head Mursi Abu Mokh from hosting ‎any such an event.‎

In response, organizers said they plan to move the ‎‎event to a private venue. ‎

Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev denounced the ‎move, calling it “a theater of the absurd. What ‎began as a first act in which Walid Daka, a ‎terrorist, is celebrated for his actions, continues ‎with a second act in which the town of Baqa al-Gharbiya ‎ celebrates the release of his book. Turning ‎this heinous terrorist into a role model for ‎children is truly absurd.”

Regev demanded the town cancel the private event as ‎well, saying “it is time we stop giving terrorists ‎and murderers public platforms. Terrorists should ‎rot in prison, where they belong.”

Baka al-Gharbiya’s council issued a statement saying ‎the town has “adopted the motto of being a city of ‎tolerance. We believe in coexistence based on the ‎values of equality and respect among all Israeli ‎population groups.””

As the content of Daka’s book had been approved by ‎the Israel Prison Service prior to publication, the ‎launch “is a cultural event organized by his ‎‎[Daka’s] family. We have read the book and its ‎contents are humane. It has no hatred, hostility or ‎any illegal content.‎

‎“The Walid Daka of 32 years ago is not the same ‎Walid as now. We are not in a place where we seek to ‎hurt anyone, for that goes against the values of ‎tolerance that we in Baka al-Gharbiya embrace,” the ‎statement said, stressing that “if the book ‎contained any incitement or racism, the city would ‎most definitely not have allowed the event to take ‎place.”

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