Photo of Israel president in Palestinian scarf sparks probe

A doctored image of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wearing a Palestinian scarf is displayed on a news website on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 20 November 2017
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Photo of Israel president in Palestinian scarf sparks probe

JERUSALEM: Israeli police announced Monday an investigation after a photoshopped picture of President Reuven Rivlin wearing a Palestinian scarf emerged amid anger over his decision to reject a soldier’s pardon request.
Rivlin had on Sunday refused to pardon Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground in March 2016.
Right-wing politicians criticized Rivlin’s decision, and Culture Minister Miri Regev went as far as saying that he had “abandoned Elor Azaria and harmed the pardoning institution.”
Rivlin’s Facebook page quickly filled with messages of support but also scathing criticism, with responders telling him he was “no longer my president,” as one wrote, or accusing him of “fawning to appease your Arab and Leftwing friends,” as another said.
Populist lawmaker Oren Hazan of the ruling Likud party — the same Rivlin was a member of in Parliament and later as a minister — called on Rivlin to resign, and said pardoning authority should move from the presidency to the Parliament.
Police said they had launched the probe after an image of Rivlin wearing a keffiyah scarf was distributed on social media.
The badly photoshopped picture features a smiling Rivlin on the backdrop of books, with a Palestinian symbol and the words “Reuven Rivlin a traitorous Jew-boy may his name and memory be accursed” in Hebrew.
The statement did not elaborate on those being investigated nor the possible crime committed.
Posters of Israeli slain Premier Yitzhak Rabin in a keffiyah had appeared before his assassination by a Jewish extremist in 1995.
The image was meant to equate Rabin to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who wore a keffiyah regularly, and imply he was betraying Israel’s interests.
Opposition head Isaac Herzog of the Labour party published Rivlin’s doctored image next to Rabin’s.
“We all know how it starts, we all know how it ends,” he wrote on Twitter.
Azaria is due to remain in prison until October 2018.


Turkish police shoot driver ‘planning Israel protest’

Updated 46 sec ago
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Turkish police shoot driver ‘planning Israel protest’

ANKARA: Turkish police on Monday shot a tractor driver in the leg after he refused to stop, state media reported, with the suspect claiming he was planning a protest at Israel’s embassy in Ankara.
The 45-year-old was detained after damaging several vehicles with the tractor in the capital despite calls to stop by the police, state-run news agency Anadolu said.
The driver claimed that he was on his way “to protest in front of the Israeli Embassy” in Ankara but no details on the planned action were given by Anadolu.
However, an Israeli official, who did not wish to be named, said “to the best of our understanding, the incident was not related to Israel or its embassy.”
The Ankara governor’s office said in a statement that the incident was being investigated but officials could find no links to terror.
The office did not mention the planned protest and the incident took place near the Israeli ambassador’s residence in Ankara, not the embassy. Relations between Israel and Turkey, one of the Jewish state’s few key Muslim partners, have been strained this year.
In May, Ankara ordered Israel’s ambassador to leave over the killing of protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip.