Politicians across the political spectrum condemned the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir Sunday, though some on the Left accused the government of being complicit in the act.
The Arab teen’s body was found last week, and police arrested six Jewish Israelis Sunday on suspicion of murder.
On Saturday, Abu Khdeir’s autopsy showed he was burned alive.
Also Sunday, police revealed that Hussein Yousef Hussein Khalifa, 34, an Israeli Arab from A’ablin in the Galilee, was arrested for alleged involvement murdering 20-year-old Shelly Dadon earlier this year. Police suspect he was motivated by Palestinian nationalism.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said “we should all be ashamed of the findings on the Arab teen’s murder.
“The State of Israel cannot stand silent following the shocking murder of a young, innocent Arab boy by Jewish murderers,” he stated. “There is no difference between our blood and their blood. Law enforcement must act determinedly and harshly against the murderers and put them on trial.”
Lapid said those who take the law into their own hands harm Israel’s interests and are an obstacle to the battle against terrorism.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that Abu Khdeir’s murder is a “heinous act that is anti-moral and anti-Jewish.”
Bennett called for the murderers to be treated like terrorists.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said “murder is murder is murder.”
“No one has the right in any case to take the life of another innocent person who was created in God’s image,” the Bayit Yehudi minister said. “The police must bring the murderers to justice.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) expressed sadness and shock at the developments in both murder cases.
“Awful terrorism cost us five children, a price in blood that no society should have to pay,” he wrote on Facebook. “I cannot understand the murder of a girl [Dadon] who just started her life and was looking for a job so she could be independent... [Abu Khdeir] was an innocent, young boy the same age as my children.
“How can a person lose his humanity and commit such cruel murders?” Herzog asked. “A child is a child.”
Herzog called for “the sane majority” to reject such phenomena and not tolerate incitement, racism or violence.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said Abu Khdeir’s murder is “the result of populism, racist incitement and bloodlust of government ministers who called for indiscriminate revenge and a policy of ‘an eye for an eye.’” According to Gal-On, “when a cabinet minister calls to ‘move [from words] to action’ some take him seriously.”
The Meretz chairwoman said ministers should have learned from the example of Rachel Fraenkel, whose son Naftali and two other Israeli teens were murdered by Hamas terrorists last month and said of Abu Khdeir’s killing: “Murder is murder, no matter what the nationality.”
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) said she “denounces all murder on both sides, whether by Jews or Arabs.”
“We must let the police do its job and bring the suspects to justice,” she added.
At the same time, Regev said that there is no place for Arab rioting.
“When three of our [Jewish] boys were murdered, there weren’t riots,” she said, though 47 demonstrators, some calling for “death to Arabs” and “revenge,” were arrested last week when their protest became violent.
“They are breaking the law and we have to treat them harshly, like we do with terrorists. Israeli Arabs who oppose the state should be punished,” Regev added, vowing to pass laws to take citizenship away from Israeli Arabs who aid terrorists.
Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said that murderers who kill innocent people must spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Shaked recently submitted a bill that would allow courts to sentence murderers and terrorists to life in prison without the option of being pardoned.
“We still don’t know for sure the results of the investigation [of Abu Khdeir’s murder]. Whether it’s nationalist or criminal, his murderer must have the same fate as Shelly Dadon’s killer and all other despicable killers – life in prison without pardon,” she stated.
MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) spoke out against “emotional acts taken in anger and hatred, which do not bring our goals closer.
“Our responsibility as a nation is to purify our camp from fringe elements who were forced on us,” she added. “The values in our national DNA require us to act. The investigation of Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s murder should be a top priority and his murderers should be brought to justice.”
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) called the murder “a shocking, barbaric, sadistic, cruel terrorist attack.
“Woe to us if the lust for revenge will replace the state, its institutions and its rule of law,” she said. “Whoever is fanning passions and giving legitimacy to blood lust should know that his hands are stained with blood.”
MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) said that all of Israel is mourning the loss of four sons.
“We so wanted [Abu Khdeir’s murderer] not to be one of ‘us’ [Jewish Israelis].
We hoped that no one would reveal our sin, the rotten fruits that grow among us, that, yes, as surprising as it is, they are the same as the rotten fruits that grow among them [Arabs],” Gilon wrote on Facebook.
“Wake up, silent majority! Stop this madness!” he added.