Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett challenged the government on Monday for releasing Palestinian prisoners during a eulogy for soldier Gabriel Kobi who was killed by a Palestinian sniper on Sunday.
"We will fight to eradicate the perception that murderers can be suddenly released," he said. "I promise we will work with all our strength to ensure that (Kobi's murderers) will never have the option of being released."
The Bayit Yehudi leader has been outspoken in his opposition to the renewed peace negotiations. Bennett joined six other cabinet ministers in sending a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to convene the Knesset with the aim of reconsidering the ongoing release of Palestinian prisoners as an integral part of the continuing peace talks.
Other ministers who signed the letter included Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who has recently lashed verbal attacks in Netanyahu's direction and Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach.
Bennett told mourners present at the funeral that Israel must exact a price on terrorism to show Israel places value on its soldiers lives.
"We must stop giving our enemies the impression that Jewish blood has become the cheapest commodity in the Middle East," Bennett declared. "Make no mistake about us. We will not lay down our weapons. We will not blink."
Kobi a Givati soldier, who was twenty years old when he died was buried in the Haifa military cemetery. IDF forces were continuing patrols in the Hebron area in search of his killer.
Israel released a group of 26 Palestinian prisoners on August 13
as a gesture to the Palestinians ahead of the renewal of peace talks.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said earlier this month
that a second group of Palestinian security prisoners could be released by Israel by the end of September.
The cabinet voted in July to release
a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners in stages over the next nine months as part of the diplomatic negotiations.