Bennett takes on extremism, backs Shin Bet on Duma probe

"Just as I trust the Shin Bet to chase murderers of Jews, I trust them in this case - not without checking and not without questioning, and I am doing just that," writes Bennett.

December 22, 2015 14:18
3 minute read.
Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett expressed support for the Shin Bet’s techniques in investigating the attack in Duma, which he called terrorism, taking on extremists and adversarial elements in his party Tuesday.

The Bayit Yehudi chairman wrote a Facebook post following a letter of protest by Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl and South Hebron Hills Regional Council head Yochai Damari sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday calling to investigate claims the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) tortured suspects in the July 2 firebombing of a home in the West Bank village of Duma, killing Sa’ad Dawabshe, 31, his wife, Reham, 27 and their 18-month-old son, Ali. Also Monday, hundreds held an unauthorized demonstration in Jerusalem against the alleged torture.

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The Shin Bet denies using torture.

Bennett wrote that he looked into the claims and “the things that were done were legally.”

“Just as I trust the Shin Bet to chase murderers of Jews, I trust them in this case – not without checking and not without questioning, and I am doing just that.”
Netanyahu: The attacks against Shin Bet are unacceptable

As for the Duma firebombing, Bennett wrote: “When you burn a sleeping family, that is a terrorist attack.

With a terrorist attack – you do everything to catch those responsible. You do everything – within the limits of the law.”

As for the protests, Bennett said they did not occur in a vacuum.

“You can’t disregard what is happening right before our eyes, not the ‘price-tag’ incidents, nor the murders in Duma, or the murder of the boy [Muhammad Abu Khdeir] in Jerusalem,” Bennett wrote. “There is a new approach that is being followed by a few dozen disturbed anarchists...

intended to destroy the ties between the Nation of Israel and the State of Israel.”

Their approach is “the totally opposite of what religious Zionism has striven for since it was established by Rabbi [Abraham Isaac] Kook,” he added.

“It cannot be and I will not let it happen that a group of extremists will come along with a delusional and messianic idea and attempt to disconnect the people from the state. This is not the way of the Israeli Right, and it is not the way of religious Zionism."

"This is not about being statesmanlike. This is not about unifying the nation. This is not about the land, nation or Torah of Israel. This is anarchy,” Bennett emphasized.

Such people are not “one of us,” the Bayit Yehudi leader wrote.

“Religious Zionism is the connection between the Torah, the state, the nation and the country. It is not a relationship that can be separated, and I will not let anyone destroy it. We are not tribes. We are not anarchists. We are one nation,” he wrote.

MK Bezalel Smotrich, of the hardline Tekuma party within Bayit Yehudi, is the MK in the party that has come out most strongly against the Shin Bet’s methods, and recently wrote an op-ed saying the Duma firebombing was not terrorism. He responded to Bennett on Twitter.

“The State of Israel is a bit stronger than a few dozens of crazy young people who lost their way,” he wrote. “I suggest you do not turn everything into an existential threat. We have faced greater threats and remained a democratic state that observes acceptable investigation methods. It would be unfortunate to violate that.”

On Monday, there was a heated debate in the Likud faction meeting on the topic of Duma, with MK Miki Zohar insisting it was not a terrorist attack and coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi saying it was.

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