(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The attackers at the Jerusalem LGBT Parade and Duma and like minded extremists do not represent Israel and must be defeated, Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote in Friday’s New York Times.
“Israel is under attack,” he began. “This time though, the threat is not from Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas. It comes from a fringe group within Israel, which needs to be eradicated swiftly and forcefully.”
Bennett said the attackers are Jewish extremists who say they are acting in the name of God, but in reality desecrate Him, Judaism and the Jewish people, and represent no one but themselves – not the mostly law-abiding residents of Jewish communities in the West Bank. They are a fringe group who want to destroy Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, he wrote. “They are terrorists,” he added, vowing to use all means at Israel’s disposal to defeat them. “They are anarchists, a fifth column... they must face the full force of Israel’s justice system and its defense establishment.”
The government authorized extraordinary measures to apprehend the Duma killers, Bennett wrote, modeling action after the way Israel combats other terrorist groups.
“These extremists threaten Zionism, our future and our statehood,” he wrote. “We must do everything in our power to stop them.”
Calling himself “the leader of Israel’s right-wing camp,” Bennett reiterated his stance against conceding land, that settlements in the West Bank are legitimate and that a Palestinian state is a “risk Israel cannot take,” since it would be a launching pad for terrorist attacks.
Still, the Bayit Yehudi chairman wrote that he “believe[s] in coexistence and working together with our neighbors to create stability, economic prosperity and a safe, secure future for all of our children, Israeli and Palestinian, without regard for their religion or sexual orientation.”
As education minister, Bennett said he supports tolerance, including having Jewish schoolchildren learn more about Arabs, their culture, history and language, and called for Palestinians to do the same, rather than “publishing maps that pretend there is no State of Israel… praising martyrdom...[and] naming town squares for mass murderers.”
“We need to speak respectfully about one another and appreciate the differences among us. That is the only way to attain a genuine and durable peace,” he wrote.