In a use of extremely aggressive rhetoric to describe the punishment for those who commit treason against the State of Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Arab-Israelis who side with the enemy should have their heads “chopped off with an axe” as punishment.
Arab-Israelis are Arab citizens of the State of Israel. Palestinians do not have Israeli citizenship, and live in either the West Bank, Gaza, or another country.
Lieberman is the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our Home) party, which is predominantly made up of national security hawks, secularists, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Lieberman’s party stands on the platform that all Israeli citizens should serve in the military, and that there should be no exemptions for ultra-orthodox Jews or Arabs.
“Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe,” Lieberman said at a campaign speech on Sunday in Israel’s high-tech city of Herzliya.
An Arab-Israeli audience member asked Lieberman what he expected would come of his policy recommendation. “I have no problem with your being a citizen. I expect all Arabs, Christians and Jews to be loyal to the state, regardless of religious affiliation, and to serve in the IDF. We accept and encourage those who identify with us,” said the Yisrael Beiteinu head.
Lieberman added that those who commemorate “Nakba Day,” — which pays tribute to the Arabs who lost the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that saw Israel successfully obtain sovereignty — do not deserve to be Israeli citizens.
He added, “Those who raise the black flag on ‘Nakba Day’ in mourning over the establishment of Israel do not belong here, as far as I am concerned, and I am quite willing to donate them to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas… It would be my pleasure.”
A recent poll showed that Yisrael Beiteinu is expected to obtain five seats in the next Knesset (Israeli Parliament). Lieberman’s party is expected to join Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative coalition in the upcoming elections on March 17.