Controversial Israeli rapper survives assassination attempt
Lahav Harkov, JPost, Jul 5 2016
Ha-Tzel (Photo: Lahav Harkov)
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) invited rapper Yoav Eliasi (“ha-Tzel” = the Shadow) to the Knesset on Monday, asking him to join the Likud and encourage his supporters to do so as well, in a move the former said would help the party continue to appeal to “the core of the Right.” Eliasi was part of one of Israel’s most successful hip hop groups, the TACT family, led by rapper Subliminal, but is better known in recent years for making controversial political statements and taking part in violent demonstrations, many of which were counter-rallies against left-wing activists. He is associated with radical right-wing groups and figures like Baruch Marzel, La Familia and Lehava, and uses social media to spread his views, which have been criticized by many as racist incitement. Hazan has been a lightning rod since entering the Knesset last year. He is currently suing a journalist for broadcasting an investigative report indicating that he provided prostitutes and crystal meth to Israeli patrons of a casino he managed in Bulgaria before running for the Knesset. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein refused to allow Hazan, then one of his deputies, to run Knesset meetings, and the freshman MK has held a grudge ever since. Hazan is known for making colourful statements. He has proudly compared himself to Donald Trump. He is also known for baiting Arab MKs with the catchphrase “the Land of Israel for the people of Israel, not Ishmael!” The Likud suspended him from all parliamentary committees for truancy from votes earlier this year, and the Knesset Ethics Committee suspended him for mocking an MK’s disability. Hazan, who entered the Knesset in the party’s youth slot, said on Monday that Eliasi “belongs in the Likud,” and that he is not concerned by accusations that the rapper is racist. Hazan lamented:
In the reality we live in, whoever proudly raises an Israeli flag is called a racist, and whoever craps on the flag is called a hero. (“smartut kahol lavan” or “blue & white asswipe” syndrome – RB)
Hazan pointed out that Eliasi has some 240,000 “likes” on Facebook, twice as many as there are Likud members, and opined that someone with that many fans can’t be considered marginal. He said:
I refuse to dismiss ha-Tzel as just a passing phase. He’s paving a way that tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, are following. To keep the core of the Right, we need to balance out the side of those who call for a two-state solution, which is not a Likud position, with those who say clearly, without regard to political correctness, that we will stop those who want to destroy us. I raise an eyebrow at those who criticize me for inviting ha-Tzel and his fans to be part of the party, when the Knesset speaker didn’t invite me to his wedding, although he invited most of the Joint Palestinian List, including potential terrorists. He has Ahmed Tibi running Knesset meetings, someone who was an adviser to an arch-terrorist and called IDF soldiers bloodthirsty sadists! But I, who love this land, even though I’m blunt, can’t run Knesset meetings!
Hazan said ha-Tzel saw how he (Hazan) is treated in the press, and was deterred from the idea of taking public office, but would continue his activism outside of the legislature. Hazan stated:
I’m sure he’ll still want to make his opinions heard. Many others in Israel share them.
Ha-Tzel refused to answer questions about joining the Likud. He did however talk about surviving a recent assassination attempt, and showed the JPost a letter from a garage in Tel Aviv to which he took his Cadillac on Jun 10 after it would not start. He said:
Foreign materials were maliciously put in the gas tank, which could have cost human lives, making the engine explode when the gas tank was full. I was in the car, with my three-year-old son. My three-year old son never did anything wrong to anyone. I cannot accept this. I receive threats daily because of my political opinions, and my tires have been slashed a dozen times. Leftists and Arabs threaten to kill me. They sent me photos of my son in a coffin.