Terrorist attacks cause tension inside Netanyahu's coalition

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett hinted ahead of Monday night's security cabinet that he would use the meeting to issue his displeasure with Netanyahu's policies.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
October 5, 2015 22:46
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Bayit Yehudi chief Naftali Bennett

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Bayit Yehudi chief Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: TWITTER / TAL SCHNEIDER)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become increasingly frustrated with how right-wing ministers in Bayit Yehudi and Likud have reacted to the wave of terrorist attacks, Netanyahu's associates said Monday night.

They said the claims that the IDF was not being given the proper support was "an infuriating lie" and that ministers have been issuing proposals to the press that are already being implemented by security forces under the prime minister and defense minister's directives.

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"Too many ministers have sought to cynically use terrorist attacks for political gain," a source close to Netanyahu said. "There are ministers who are behaving improperly on Facebook and don't understand the responsibilities involved in being part of the government. It would be proper for ministers to voice their opinion in internal forums. You cannot be in the government and the opposition at the same time."

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett hinted ahead of Monday night's security cabinet that he would use the meeting to issue his displeasure with Netanyahu's policies in a closed forum as the prime minister requested.

Bennett spent the Simhat Torah holiday in the Old City of Jerusalem. He danced with Torah scrolls at the site of Saturday night's terrorist attack in which Palestinian murderers killed two Jewish men and at the yeshiva of one of the victims.

The Bayit Yehudi leader spoke to dozens of policemen and soldiers on patrol in the Old City, strengthened them, and promised to bring their voice to the security cabinet.

"I learned a lot from seeing first-hand what the police and security forces are dealing with," Bennett said. "I saw the tools they have to deal with the situation, and I will provide my opinion of this in the appropriate forums."

The criticism from Netanyahu's associates came in response to statements by Bayit Yehudi ministers Ayelet Shaked, who told Channel 2 that the government was not doing enough to fight terrorism, and Uri Ariel, who called on the prime minister to act with an iron fist against terror and build in Judea and Samaria.

Yisrael Beyternu leader Avigdor Liberman, who is not in the coalition, outlined the steps he thinks are necessary to curb the increase in deadly Palestinian terror attacks plaguing Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

In a post to his Facebook page on Sunday, Liberman first called for an immediate halt to all Israeli money transfers to the Palestinian Authority, because he said Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas is not a partner for peace. He said the security cabinet should agree to demolish the home of every terrorist and that anyone who commits a terror attack should be given the death penalty. 

Furthermore, Liberman called for the northern branch of the Islamic Movement to be outlawed and barred from operating in Israel. He added that groups paying Muslims to heckle and taunt Jews heading to the Temple Mount must must be stopped as well. He also encouraged plans to build safe bypass roads for people traveling through the West Bank.

Zionist Union youth activists organized an event outside Netanyahu's home Sunday urging him to take more steps to improve security and attacking him from the Right.

MK Erel Margalit, who spoke at the event, said "the prime minister who has paralyzed the diplomatic process and isolated Israel internationally now cannot stop the terror."

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On attacked the security cabinet's decision to destroy the homes of terrorists, saying it is the kind of step he takes when he has no real answers in the war on terror. She said the decision is "stupid" and that Netanyahu and his ministers know it.

"Destroying homes is ineffective in preventing terror, it is unjust, unethical, not smart, and does not pass the test of international law," Gal-On said. "It is cruel collective punishment for the purpose of internal public diplomacy that is intended to silence protest. It will only increase hatred for Israel among innocent people."

Michelle Malka Grossman contributed to this report


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