Bennett: Prisoner release undermines Israeli-Arab demand for equality in Israel

In open letter to Israeli-Arab sector, Bayit Yehudi leader says release of Israeli-Arab terrorists hurts foremost sector's interests.

April 13, 2014 08:33
1 minute read.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Economy Minister Naftali Bennett turned to Israel's Arab population in a letter he released Sunday, explaining his Bayit Yehudi party's opposition to the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists. Bennett emphasized why such a release would be unfavorable to the Israeli-Arab sector's position in Israeli society.  

In the letter, Bennett said that the release of murderers was unjustified because it would encourage terror and because of the heinous nature of their crimes. For the Arab Israeli population, Bennett said the release would undermine the sector's demands for equality and full rights in Israeli society.

"In this letter, I turn to you, Israeli Arab citizens, in order to explain the reasons for our opposition to the release of Israeli citizens."

Bennett wrote that the prisoner release was especially significant for Israeli Arabs because it touched on the sensitive issue of the sector's connection to the state of Israel. 

"Releasing the Arab Israeli prisoners would turn you ostensibly into second class citizens. The release harms first and foremost your interests," the Bayit Yehudi leader wrote. 

"A deal in which the head of the Palestinian Authority [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] demands the release of Israeli-Arabs from prison, would be a disgrace for Israeli Arabs that is not justified." 

"This kind of deal undermines your demands for justice, equality and full rights," Bennett wrote in the letter, explaining, "Because if Abu Mazen (Abbas) takes care of this issue, the citizens of Israel will tell you that he should take care of everything for you."  

The Bayit Yehudi faction convened on Friday and decided to back Bennett's statement from Thursday in which he said he would remove his party from the government coalition if Israeli Arabs were released.

On Thursday Bennett said that if the deal includes murderers with Israeli citizenship, it would violate Israeli sovereignty. “Bayit Yehudi would oppose such a deal in the cabinet, and if it passes, the party would leave the government,” he said

Bennett said Thursday his party could not tolerate surrendering to Palestinian extortion. Noting the upcoming Passover holiday, he said the Jews were now free and had a legal system to protect them from terrorists. 

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN