Israel's hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman showcased copies of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo in Tel Aviv on Thursday in an apparent pre-election publicity stunt.
Members of Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, their mouths symbolically taped shut, set up a stall in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital and displayed copies for public perusal of the French satirical magazine, an AFP correspondent said.
The issue — released a week after a deadly attack by Islamist gunmen on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris — courted controversy by featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, drawing condemnation from Muslim leaders.
“Radical Islamic terrorists murdered people simply because they published something. We will not allow this to happen in Israel,” Lieberman said at the gathering.
“We will not surrender, and we will publish whatever we like, whenever we like.”
Charlie Hebdo’s print version is not available for purchase in Israel.
The stall in Tel Aviv did not attempt to distribute or sell the magazines, after a warning on Wednesday from Israel’s electoral commission that “giving out gifts” was tantamount to bribery.
Israel is holding a snap general election on March 17.