Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer yesterday said he had been slapped in the face by a right-wing academic just minutes ahead of a televised debate involving the two.
“In the makeup room, Mor Altshuler, a right-wing academic, slapped me very violently,” the settlement watchdog boss said, adding that the incident happened on Tuesday evening at the studios of Israel’s Channel 1 ahead of their political debate.
Before slapping him, Altshuler told Oppenheimer she wanted to “settle the score” for an incident several years ago in which she claimed she was interviewed under false pretenses by Peace Now activists, he said.
“I do not remember any such incident, but assuming it’s true, she could have asked me for an explanation or even filed a complaint,” he said.
“We’re used to being verbally attacked, sometimes very harshly, but this is the first time I have been physically attacked,” he said, adding that he had filed a police complaint over the incident.
Oppenheimer said the atmosphere in Israel was “becoming more and more theatening” for anyone taking a stance seen as unpatriotic or which was considered as being ‘harmful’ to the Jewish state.
“Sometimes I get the impression that threatening anyone on the left is becoming legitimate,” he said.
Speaking to army radio, Altshuler admitted hitting him and expressed regret over the incident, which she described as “a symbolic slap.”
She accused the settlement watchdog of having sent her three “false students,” who tried to trap her into saying she approved of the assassination in 1995 of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was gunned down by a right-wing extremist.
Oppenheimer had “publicly bragged about it,” she said.
Peace Now is an Israeli NGO which monitors ongoing Jewish settlement activity on Palestinian land which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
Its work, which involves writing detailed reports about settlement expansion which are closely followed by foreign governments, is frequently denounced by the settler lobby and its right-wing supporters, who accuse the watchdog of “betraying” the state of Israel.
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