Update: The mayor announced on Israeli TV that he would resign over the incident but then reneged on that decision.
A stir was caused in Israel on Thursday afternoon as the official Facebook page of the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm posted a message of condolences to the families of the two terrorists who Sunday night murdered two Israeli police officers in an attack in Hadera.
The two terrorists – who were killed by Israeli security forces during the attack – Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, were from the city of Umm al-Fahm.
The Mayor of Umm al-Fahm, Dr. Samir Sobhi Mahamed, has repudiated the Facebook post which has since been deleted.
The post, in Arabic, read:
On my own behalf and on behalf of the members and employees of the municipality of Uhm Al Fahm we extend our sincere condolences and sympathies [to the terrorists’ families].
Our hearts go out to our people in the [Ighbariah ] family.
May God have mercy on them [the terrorists] and forgive them and inspire their families.
In response, Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Ayelet Shaked, instructed that her ministry ask the mayor of Umm al-Fahm to remove the post, and he did so.
“It is inconceivable that a municipality in the State of Israel would console families of terrorists. This is a serious and shameful post, and it is good that it has been deleted,” read a statement from Shaked’s office. “The Interior Minister will continue to show zero tolerance for supporting terrorism on social networks and in general.”
Mahamed later issued an apology over the post and denied that he had anything to do with its writing.
“The post went up on the Facebook page without my permission and was not my personal opinion. This is a serious mistake by the [city] spokesperson,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 News
The mayor added that he instructed that the post be removed immediately and that the matter is now being examined “by the relevant authorities.”
“We renounce this publication which does not represent Umm al-Fahm and its municipality,” he declared.