Lod imam arrested for incitement against Jews, Israel — again

Sheikh Yousef Albaz arrested just days after hosting Hamas-linked hate preacher, inciting on Facebook.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Arab Israeli imam with a long history of inflammatory comments towards the Jewish state was arrested once again on charges of incitement over the weekend.

Sheikh Yousuf Albaz, a prominent Islamic figure in Lod, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in central Israel, was taken into custody on suspicion of incitement on Saturday.

Hebrew-language media reported that Albaz had called for a violent response to Israeli police on the Temple Mount, both in a speech in his mosque and via Facebook posts.

Albaz’s arrest came two days after he hosted Sheikh Ra’ed Salah — the spiritual leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s now-outlawed Northern branch, who has been convicted of terror-related offenses — at Lod’s Great Mosque.

In a fiery screed on Facebook, Albaz described Jews who opposed the hate preacher’s visit to Lod as “pigs,” according to a translation of the Arabic-language post in a Haaretz report.

He added that any person objecting to Salah’s presence was “a vile and despicable character from the dregs of humanity.”

The post continued with Albaz praising Salah as a “leader and a source of inspiration to me.” Salah spoke “despite the opposition of the terrorists from the Garin Hatorani [Religious Zionist group living in Lod] who disseminate hatred everywhere,” Albaz said.

Read  US, EU slam Palestinian President for justifying Hitler and the Holocaust

During Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, Albaz fanned the flames during widespread rioting in mixed Arab-Jewish cities, including Lod.

In Lod, a Jewish man was killed by a brick hurled at his vehicle while he was diving and a synagogue was torched. While the rioting was ongoing, Albaz posted clips on Facebook calling for the murder of police officers and directly threatened Lod’s deputy mayor.

The content triggered an arrest in June 2021. Albaz faced criminal charges of incitement to terror and hate speech.

In past social media posts, Albaz has referred to Israel as an enemy state, claiming that Muslims or Arabs attempting to maintain normal relations with the Jewish state are equivalent to traitors.

“Anyone who believes in coexistence must be banished from among us because they will be a dagger in our backs,” he wrote.