Israel-Palestine war: Israeli journalist who expressed solidarity with Palestinians attacked by mob
A prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli journalist has gone into hiding after his home was attacked by a mob of far-right Israelis, who targeted him in response to expressions of solidarity with Palestinians under bombardment in Gaza.
The crowd of far-right Israelis surrounded Israel Frey’s home on Saturday night, firing flares into the sky and threatening to kill him.
Frey, who is a Middle East Eye contributor, had openly criticised Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip, where more than 2,750 Palestinians have been killed in air strikes in 10 days, and even recited the Kaddish Jewish mourners’ prayer for Gaza’s women and children.
More than 724 of those killed are children and over 458 women.
The crowd shouted “traitor” several times and told neighbours in the ultra-Orthodox Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak that they should not accept a “murderer” in their building the same way they would not accept a secular person.
After Frey managed to evacuate his children without police support, officers eventually came to his home to escort him at around 2:30am.
According to Haaretz, Frey said a police officer intentionally spat on him as they were heading downstairs, and he was accused of supporting Hamas while being driven to his car. Israeli police then denied this claim to the newspaper.
Updating some associates in real time, Frey alleged that the protesters followed his car as he was driving to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
According to him, the protesters were ultra-Orthodox followers of far-right rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane was the founder of ultranationalist group Kahane Chai, which was removed from the United States’ list of “foreign terrorist organizations” last year.
Frey was also confronted by the protesters in the hospital, later evading the scene with help from a friend. Middle East Eye understands he is now in hiding.
The attack on Frey’s home comes as Israel considers suppressing voices critical of its policies and actions in the war in Gaza, and critical media organisations and anti-Zionist Jewish citizens have faced increased threats.
Fighting began on 7 October, when hundreds of Palestinian fighters staged a surprise offensive on Israel from Gaza, backed by thousands of rockets. Around 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Hamas-led attack, with Israel saying 199 more Israelis were taken to Gaza as hostages.
Since then, Israel has bombed Gaza relentlessly, and completely cut off supplies of food, water, electricity and internet to the enclave.
Frey has previously gotten in trouble for his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In December, he was arrested for praising a Palestinian who was allegedly planning an attack against Israeli forces in Jaffa.
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.