Photo Credit: Aryeh King
Saleh Diab during a protest in Shimon HaTzadik/Sheikh Jarrah.

(JNS) An Arab convicted of physically attacking his Jewish neighbor is set to address students at Tel Aviv’s once-prestigious Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium on Sunday as part of a protest against the government’s judicial reform effort, according to Jewish advocacy group Betzalmo.

Saleh Diab, an Arab resident of Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzadik/Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, was invited to the Sept. 3 event by the radical left-wing Youth Against Dictatorship group, which has been rallying teenagers to refuse to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.


“Starting in the afternoon [of Sept. 3], Youth Against Dictatorship activists will take over the Herzliya Gymnasium in Tel Aviv,” the organization announced earlier this week, adding that “open classes will be held on the subject of activism and social struggles, led by representatives of Breaking the Silence and residents of Sheikh Jarrah.”

Local media quoted one of the organizers, 17-year-old Tal Mitnick from Tel Aviv, as saying, “We must stop the judicial revolution [judicial reform] and we must stop taking part in a military that serves settlements [in Judea and Samaria] and the occupation.”

A member of Shimon HaTzadik’s “neighborhood committee,” Diab has been arrested numerous times for assaulting Jews, most recently in June on suspicion of attacking Shabbat worshippers with an iron rod. In 2014, he served eight months in prison for aggravated assault on a Jewish neighbor.

Last year, Diab was caught chanting violent slogans, with one video showing him praising Palestinian terrorist Udai Tamimi, the Hamas operative who carried out the shooting that killed Military Police Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir previously called Diab “a terrorist responsible for harassing and bullying the Jews of the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood.”

Betzalmo CEO Shai Glick has called on Education Minister Yoav Kisch to cancel the “delusional” on-campus demonstration, adding that the State Education Law mandates schools to prepare pupils for “a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces or national service.”

“The time has come once and for all to check the delusional behavior of [headmaster] Mr. [Ze’ev] Degani and whether he is fit to lead students,” Glick wrote in a letter copied to a handful of national politicians and local officials.

Responding to a question by Arutz Sheva on Tuesday, the Education Ministry said that it would “check the complaints and the facts” and take action “in accordance with the legal means at its disposal.”

“There is nothing to check; there’s a terrorist and an organization that calls for refusals. Just prohibit this unlawful event from taking place already,” Glick told JNS on Tuesday, adding he was disappointed that Kisch did not personally respond to his missive.

Right-wing politicians and activists similarly decried the apparent failure to take swift action.

“The terrorist Saleh Diab, who served prison time for attacking Jews on nationalistic grounds, was invited to give a speech at the opening day of the Herzliya Gymnasium alongside representatives of Breaking the Silence. Kudos to the right-wing government,” Likud Party lawmaker MK Tali Gottlieb sarcastically proclaimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium was founded in 1905 as the first Hebrew high school in what was then Ottoman-controlled Palestine. Its current headmaster, Ze’ev Degani, who has headed the historic institution for the past 15 years, has clashed with successive right-wing governments in Jerusalem.

In 2016, Degani invited members of Breaking the Silence to speak with students, defying calls from the Education Ministry to cancel the lecture. He also stopped sending delegations from his school on state-sponsored trips to the Auschwitz extermination camp, claiming they contributed to a “process of fascisization taking over politics in this country.”

Herzliya Gymnasium graduate Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff who went on to become the Jewish state’s foreign minister in a short-lived unity government in 2020-2021, has said that he is “ashamed” of his alma mater.


Previous articleDOT Investigating El Al for Discrimination Against ‘Palestinian-American’ Passenger
Next articleSpecial Election Endorsement: Sam Berger