Lawmakers who blame the Right for inciting the murder of an Arab teen in east Jerusalem before police identify the culprits and motives are irresponsible, MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) said on Wednesday.
Several MKs on the Left released statements asserting that the murder was an act of “revenge,” though police have yet to finish investigating what was behind the crime.
Placing blame is not only “immoral, but it shows a lack of intelligence.
One shouldn’t run to speak when the facts aren’t clear and the police didn’t say anything,” Struck said.
The Bayit Yehudi legislator emphasized several times that she is against murder no matter who perpetrates it and who the victim is.
“There is no option where I would present murder as a legitimate response to the kidnapping and murder [of three Israeli teens] and I don’t think you’ll find a Jewish MK who would, unlike Arab MKs, who already legitimized murder, unfortunately and embarrassingly,” Struck added.
Similarly, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said, “The murder of the teen and the burning of his body is a despicable and disgusting act. I call on the police to use all means to find the murderers as quickly as possible and bring them to justice.”
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu) called for people to act “from their heads and their heads only.”
“Just as an animalistic murder is not a policy, neither is revenge.
Expressions of hatred and violence are evil that should be uprooted regardless of religion, race or political views,” Shamir wrote on Facebook.
“We must have zero tolerance for lawbreakers... Less than a day ago, three of our sons were buried. Populism will not bring them to life, but it can bring us backwards.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said if the boy was murdered for nationalist reasons, then cabinet ministers are responsible for “inciting and calling for revenge without differentiating between innocent people and those who are responsible for the terrible kidnapping and murder [of the three Israelis].
“Hundreds of right-wing activists and Kahanists rioting in Jerusalem demanding revenge and to harm Arabs were encouraged by the populist statements of right-wing ministers,” she added.
No minister has called for acts of revenge on Arabs in general, but some said Israel should retaliate by attacking Hamas leaders and infrastructure, while expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Still, MKs from the United Arab List-Ta’al blamed “calls for revenge” for sparking the murder.
“The deplorable murderers of Muhammad Abu Khdeir must be investigated and punished,” MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) said. “Palestinian blood is not cheaper than that of settlers, and for his mother, it is more important than all of Israel and the whole world.”
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said that “if the murder is an act of revenge, it is not only a cruel murder of an innocent boy but a terrorist attack and a threat to Israel’s existence as a democratic country with rule of law.
“This is a barbaric challenge to sovereignty, the army, the police, the courts and the government and the murderers must be caught and brought to justice urgently,” she said.
According to MK Dov Henin (Hadash), “A wave of hatred is washing over the land. People are taking advantage of the atmosphere following the murder of the boys to incite against Arabs.”
Political leaders should have spoken out against violence before it happened, Henin wrote on Facebook.
“This is a test of our leaders’ ability to prevent us falling into the abyss and stopping those who want to push us there,” he continued.
The Abraham Fund, an NGO that works for Jewish-Arab coexistence, called the crime a “revenge murder,” despite the absence of a statement by the police to that effect.
“The tense situation should not be taken advantage of to attack Arab citizens and label them as enemies,” a statement from the organization reads. “Government ministers must set an example and be responsible and moderate.”