Netanyahu, Likud Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (right), and MK Avi Dichter meet with Druse students in the Knesset on Monday..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head and minister of public security Avi Dichter, who serves on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, spoke out Tuesday on the need to constantly fight Jewish terrorism with the same tools being used to confront Palestinian terrorism.
“I don’t accept the concept of hate crimes. I don’t know what a ‘price tag’ is – I know what a terror attack is. I don’t like to say a Molotov cocktail is not terrorism – it is like throwing a grenade. It is that simple.”
Dichter noted that on Monday a car driving in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina was hit by a firebomb thrown by an Arab terrorist.
“A woman was injured, and if her two children had been in the car they could have been killed and we would look at it differently,” he said. If no one had been killed as in Duma, why should society take it less seriously? he asked.
“Why does that have to happen [a baby murdered] for there to be change?” He argued that the problem is due to the failure of many people to conceive of these attacks as terrorism.
“When you are getting more serious and determined, then the chain of law enforcement is adopting this behavior… If someone has the willingness to throw a firebomb into a car or house [inhabited by] Israelis or Palestinians, he must be labeled as a terrorist. Don’t sublimate and talk about hate crimes or whatever else.
“When you use the right terms, you understand you are fighting someone who tomorrow might kill and the whole chain of law enforcement must know they are dealing with terrorists.”
He asserts that too often lenient sentences have been handed down to perpetrators and those who incite them.
“To get punishment for incitement is less possible than to get a peace treaty with the Palestinians,” he said.
However, he added, there is a misconception that the perpetrators can be easily influenced by society’s outpouring of condemnation.
“We deal with terrorists, many of them under the age of 18, who don’t have a record, they don’t have an authority, they don’t listen to rabbis or mayors or government representatives. They speak and write as if they are listening only to God.”
While the security cabinet has decided to use administrative detention against Jewish extremists, Dichter notes that this is just one tool the security services can employ and it has been around for years.
The problem, he said, is in relaxing vigilance against the perpetrators: “You can’t put breaks on it; it’s like not mowing the grass.”
But seeing the whole country going out this week to condemn the attacks in Jerusalem and Duma and “look it in the eye,” he said, is a positive sign of unity.