Various people seen as encouraging rising hatred and incitement against political figures on social media have received warning calls from law enforcement over the past day, cautioning them against continuing such practices, Channel 12 news reported Sunday.
The network said police and the Shin Bet are continuing to closely monitor expressions of hatred online and could carry out preventive arrests to stop individuals seen as having the potential to carry out violent acts.
The news came a day after Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman issued a rare warning against rising incitement and hate speech on social media, and the danger that it will spark political violence, as the coalition that aims to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared increasingly likely to be sworn in.
“We have recently identified a serious rise and radicalization in violent and inciting discourse, specifically on social media,” Argaman said, warning that such online speech could lead some groups or individuals to take violent action and even harm others.
“This discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals as one that allows violent and illegal activity and could even lead to harm to individuals,” he said.
As the so-called “change government” has become increasingly likely, right-wing social discourse has become more and more alarmist, with frequent declarations that the government bringing together the right, center, and left could doom Israel and bring about dark times; angry protests outside politicians homes; the burning of political posters; and allegations of treason issued via traditional and social media.
Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and other members of his Yamina party have come under intense attacks from others on the right for their decision to join the so-called “change government,” and have had their security increased due to the potential threats to their safety. Netanyahu has declared that the new government endangers the Land of Israel, the State of Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces.
Argaman said politicians, public opinion leaders, religious figures, and educators across the political spectrum must speak clearly against any violence.
“It is our duty to come out with a clear and decisive call for an immediate cessation of the inciting and violent speech. The responsibility for restraining the discourse rests on the shoulders of us all,” he added.