Those who take action to stop terrorists are heroes, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday, after several cases in which people shot Arab terrorists stabbing Israelis.
“Against the cowardly Arab terrorism, a wave of Jewish courage is rising to defeat it,” he said, visiting a protest tent in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence, in which demonstrators called for more action against terrorism. Bennett said that “wherever there is a terrorist, citizens rise to defend their brothers and eliminate the enemy. In the Kirya in Tel Aviv and Kiryat Arba, Petah Tikva and Kiryat Gat, we see great heroism and great friendship.”
“For the past 120 years, people are trying to kill the Jews here. The enemy changes, but we remain here, growing and building our land,” he added.
“We are the eternal nation, and we are raising our heads.
Jewish heroism will defeat the enemy.”
Similarly, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, also of Bayit Yehudi, called on any civilians legally carrying a firearm to “be alert and prevent another terrorist attack,” in an interview with Army Radio.
Ben-Dahan also called on the attorney-general to authorize the army to demolish terrorists’ houses immediately after they attack and not wait a year.
“Demolishing terrorists’ houses and deporting their families is the best deterrent and most efficient way to deal with terrorism by individuals,” he said. “A wave of terrorism won’t scare us – we returned to our land in order to stay.”
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) also praised the soldier who shot the terrorist in Tel Aviv.
She happened to be near the scene of the attack when it happened, and said that “from all the difficult events we see that the citizens of Israel and security forces are the real heroes of the last few days, who are dealing with an impossible situation, day after day, everywhere in the country, from the Old City to the Kirya. Civilians, soldiers and police officers are showing resourcefulness, fighting terrorists, and harming them.”
On Wednesday night, MK Yinon Magal (Bayit Yehudi) courted controversy, writing on Twitter that “it is important to make an effort so that terrorists who carry out attacks are not left alive.” Magal later deleted the tweet. On Thursday, Magal clarified to Army Radio that he does not mean terrorists should be executed after being arrested, but in a case when one is attacking someone and has to be shot to be stopped, he or she should be killed and not just “neutralized.”
“I’m not saying we should take the law into our hands and lynch people,” he stated, adding later: “Whoever is trying to kill us should be taken out.”
Magal commended the security cabinet for changing the rules of engagement to allow shooting at people throwing rocks and firebombs, and said that it is the security forces’ job to protect civilians, and it’s better that they do that than for civilians to shoot terrorists.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid both paid visits on Thursday to the scene of Saturday night’s murders in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Herzog, followed minutes later by Lapid, prayed at the Western Wall and made public statements on Hagai Street, where Aharon Banita and Nehemia Lavi were killed on Saturday and an Israeli was wounded by a female terrorist on Wednesday. They each memorialized the victims, praised the security forces, and met with local residents and friends of the murdered men.
But while Herzog was critical of Netanyahu, he was soft-spoken and met with the Old City residents privately. Lapid, by contrast, defended the prime minister and spoke publicly to dozens of local teens, telling them he felt their pain and urging them to fight hate with love.
“It is important for Israel’s leaders to come here and tell our enemies they can’t scare us,” Lapid told English-language media at the site, flanked by Yesh Atid MKs Elazar Stern and Mickey Levy.
Told that Herzog had called upon Netanyahu to resign minutes earlier, Lapid said it is important for a responsible opposition to back the government when it gets things right.
Herzog called on Netanyahu to resign for being “a weak prime minister who performs well as a theater actor but poorly as a leader.” The prime minister and his cabinet had lost control over everything except their personal Facebook pages, the opposition chief said.
“Had we been in government, we would have known to calm the situation in Jerusalem a lot better,” Herzog said.
Before lighting candles to memorialize Banita and Lavi, Herzog said their fatal stabbings were only a matter of time given the tense atmosphere that took hold over the capital.
“The writing was on the wall for a long time,” he said.
Herzog called for the West Bank to be sealed off until the security situation calms down.
“We are facing a surge of dangerous terrorism and we will know how to overcome it,” he said.
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) called on Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi to call an emergency meeting on the escalation.
“From firebombs and rock-throwing to stoning a bus in Jaffa and stabbings in Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat in Petah Tikva of soldiers and civilians, the pace of security events is dizzying and raises concerns that it is not a series of lone events. Whether we call it an escalation or the third intifada, it is clear that the public’s sense of security has crumbled,” Bar-Lev wrote.
The MK added that it is important for the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee be updated by security officials in order to oversee and follow what is happening, and make sure the right things are being done to bring calm.
A source in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said members of the relevant subcommittees have been updated on the situation.
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