(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett swiftly distanced himself from comments by Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich on Thursday for saying the firebombing of a Palestinian home was not terrorism.
“Whoever throws a firebomb at a residential home is a terrorist, period,” Bennett wrote on twitter.
The attack in question took place in Duma in the West Bank in July, killing 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha and his parents.
Security officials, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, said there is no doubt the bombers were Jewish, and last week, several arrests were made in the case.
On Thursday, hardline religious-Zionist weekly B’Sheva published a column written by Smotrich alleging that the attack was not an act of terrorism.
Smotrich began by accusing the Shin Bet of “losing its way” and criticizing comparisons between “price tag” vandalism and Palestinian terrorism.
Then he wrote: “The murder in Duma, as serious as it is, is not a terrorist event.
Period. Whoever calls it that is not telling the truth, is severely and unjustly harming human and civil rights and is turning himself into someone from the UN who tries to keep order ‘on both sides.’” “We are not at war with Jews! Crime is crime and law enforcement must be involved in eradicating it, but crime is not terrorism, and if citizens commit a crime, it does not make them the enemy,” he added.
Smotrich expressed concern that if the Jews who firebombed the Dawabsha home are terrorists, then their families will be considered terrorists’ families and their communities will be seen as supporting terrorism.
According to Bayit Yehudi Anglo Forum chairman Jeremy Saltan, “Smotrich’s comment that a Jew throwing a firebomb at a non-Jew is not terrorism, asserting that terrorism is only when a non-Jew hurts a Jew, and implying that the government’s actions push settlers to carry out attacks, is wrong and counterproductive to the interests of Judea and Samaria residents that he is meant to represent.”
MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) said in response to Smotrich’s statements that “Israel is governed by rule of law, and anyone who commits a crime from ideological motives is a terrorist, without difference of race, religion or sex.
“Murderers belong behind bars,” he added. “Bezalel apparently forgot the importance of the value of life in Judaism and one of the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not murder.”