The terrorism Israel is currently facing is the same as the Islamic terrorism plaguing the world, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday after visiting the border policewoman wounded in Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem that killed her 19-year-old comrade Hadar Cohen.
His words come against the backdrop of comments coming from some quarters around the world saying that the terrorism in Israel is different from Islamic terrorism other countries are facing, as it is the result of “Palestinian frustration.”
“Islamic terrorism is inundating the world and inciting millions in many countries, from Jakarta to Africa to California,” the prime minister said at Hadassah-University Medical Center, on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, where he also visited a soldier who was wounded in an attack near Beit El earlier this week. “We are part of this turmoil, it is not skipping over us, and we are fighting it with great strength and will continue to do so,” he said.
Netanyahu said the security forces were engaged in a “very major effort” to tamp down the terrorism and ticked off the steps taken since Wednesday’s attack.
Security personnel made a number of arrests in Kabatiya overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, operating in the village near Jenin from which three Palestinians – armed with guns, knives and explosives – set out for their deadly attack at Damascus Gate.
Cohen and the hospitalized border police woman, known only by her first name, Ravit, were part of a three-person patrol along with their commander. They had only been drafted a couple months before and their deployment at Damascus Gate was part of their training.
The Police and Border Police have come under criticism for deploying the two women at the site – one of the most dangerous flash points in the country – so soon after their mobilization.
The IDF placed Kabatiya under a semi-closure, allowing for the passage of all humanitarian goods, but placing restrictions on the movements by residents in and out of the town.
The IDF Engineering Corps units, together with the IDF Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, mapped out the homes of the three terrorists in the village ahead of their expected demolition.
“Kabatiya is cordoned off,” the prime minister said during his hospital visit. “The IDF and the [Shin Bet] Israel Security Agency are carrying out widespread arrests. We have revoked many work permits in Israel, and the attorney-general informed me yesterday that he has slated several more terrorists’ homes to be sealed and demolished. This is only part of our efforts to fight this terrorism, and we will defeat it. It will take time; this is a protracted struggle.”
Ravit related Wednesday’s events to Netanyahu.
“We are here to protect civilians,” she said. “This is what we were drafted for and this is why we are here. I have no doubt that Hadar knew this and acted in this light. I understand that Hadar saved my life.”
Netanyahu said after the visit that he was impressed by the woman’s “courage, tenacity and steadfastness, and by that of her family.”
She and her comrades acted with heroism and resourcefulness, he said. “Together with their commander, they prevented a much greater disaster.”
Cohen was a “genuine hero,” and the whole country embraces her family, the prime minister said.
Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich also paid a visit to Ravit, saying, “It is a painful, heavy toll to pay, but I have no doubt that you prevented a much bigger terrorist attack and I salute you.”
Alsheich said that it was clear from their arsenal that the terrorists had planned a “massive attack.”