Netanyahu and Lapid.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not doing enough to combat terrorism, said opposition party leaders speaking at the Sderot Conference at Sapir Academic College Wednesday.
“We want to defeat terrorism, not to feed it,” Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said. “The minute you do not defeat terrorism in Gaza, it will reach Jerusalem and Gush Dan.”
According to Liberman, the government is trying to buy quiet by spending a lot, but it will still have to defeat terrorism to make it stop.
The way to do that is to strike the sources of terrorism, such as incitement, finances and operation sources, he explained.
“If you do not deal with the sources, you have no chance,” he stated.
Liberman, who was a member of the security cabinet during Operation Protective Edge, said that “it cannot be that the strongest army in the Middle East, after 51 days, cannot eliminate Hamas rule in Gaza. Whoever is responsible must draw conclusions.”
The Yisrael Beytenu chairman also accused Netanyahu of political opportunism, saying that the prime minister froze tax money to the Palestinian Authority before this year’s election, but allowed it to flow afterward.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said that “people are being stabbed in the streets, there are more and more ramming attacks and the prime minister has no idea how to stop the terrorism.”
Lapid claimed that he avoided attacking Netanyahu for months, but that “the man who calls himself ‘Mr. Security’ does not know how to deal with 14-year-old girls with scissors.”
“All he has to say is there’s no partner, so we’ll have to live with Palestinians who stab us for the next 50 years,” Lapid scoffed. “Netanyahu is leading us to a continuation of living with the Palestinians. We want to live without Palestinians in our streets, and we have a plan to get there.”
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz pushed back at the conference, saying that steps are being taken that are suitable responses to the dangers, such as banning the northern branch of the Islamic Movement to reduce incitement.
“I think that the Arab public in Israel is more at ease when these extremists are banned,” Katz said. “This is a first step, but we must take care of all sources of incitement, even if the Palestinians who only want to work here will suffer because of the terrorism of other Palestinians.”
Katz said that there is a “direct connection between Islamic State and the type of terrorism we see here in Israel. Young Palestinians are the clones of young Europeans who are fighting in Syria and attacking in Europe.”
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) mocked Lapid, pointing out that he did his army service as a reporter for IDF magazine Bamahane.
“The prime minister, defense minister and security forces are acting on every level with a goal to eliminate terrorism, and they do not need advice from Lapid after the experience he got from his military service at Bamahane and his vast experience in television studios,” he stated.