Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Likud faction Monday the current wave of Palestinian violence was a result of Islamist extremism finding expression on social media web sites, like Facebook.
Netanyahu said Israeli security officials were aware of the significant impact of incitement garnered from social media, because of what terrorists who attacked Jews over the past few weeks have written on their private Facebook pages.
“What has been going on is due to the combination of the Internet and Islamist extremism,” Netanyahu said. “It has been Osama Bin Laden meets [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg.”
Netanyahu said Israel was engaged in “a lengthy struggle” and he was fully confident the Jewish state would win.
He also urged citizens against taking the law into their own hands.
On Sunday Israeli bystanders killed an Eritrean man they apparently mistook for an assailant during a deadly attack at the Beersheba central bus station. The knife and gun assault also claimed the life of an IDF soldier and wounded half a dozen people.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett criticized Netanyahu for enabling the construction of security barriers separating the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Armon Hanatziv and Jebl Mukaber.
At a meeting of his faction, Bennett slammed the international community for not showing Israel enough support as it fights terrorism.
“Part of the world is morally confused and unsure who is the aggressor,” Bennett said, deliberately speaking in English. “I call upon our friends around the world to support us. Those around the world who gives us grades and advice: Wake up.
We might be on the front lines now, but this war is also in your country. Don’t find yourselves on the wrong side of history.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told his faction that building barriers in Jerusalem was not the way to restore security.
Netanyahu faced surprising criticism for the Jerusalem barricades from leading voices inside his own party.
“It’s not the right thing to do from a security standpoint,” Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Army Radio. “We had a discussion about this in the cabinet, and it was clear that this wasn’t the solution. This is something temporary and isolated. We need to deal with terrorism and not build fences that can easily be bypassed.”
Meretz faction head Ilan Gil- On offered measured praised for Netanyahu, though.
“Bibi divided Jerusalem,” he told a meeting of Meretz lawmakers.
“We would have done it with much less bloodshed.”
Netanyahu began a series of security briefings Monday with all the heads of parties in the opposition, except for Joint List leader Ayman Ouda. The meetings started Monday with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
“The prime minister knows we will not enter his government,” Lapid said. “Nevertheless, there is no coalition or opposition in the war against vile Palestinian terrorism that is wreaking havoc around the country. We will support any steps that increase security for the people of Israel, IDF soldiers, and other security forces.”