(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Opposition head and Zionist Union head MK Isaac Herzog lamented on Saturday the death of a border policewoman who was murdered on duty in a lethal terror attack that struck Jerusalem's Old City on Friday.
Speaking at a cultural event in northern Israel on Saturday, Herzog said that the policewoman, 23-year-old Hadas Malka, was "part of the generational chain that fights to defend the nation's citizens and our existence here."
Female soldiers like Hadas perform difficult roles in "the eye of the storm," Herzog added, and went on to say that Malka "defended the nation's citizens and she was a flower picked in her prime."
The opposition leader also extended his condolences to Malka's family, saying that he knew them and that they were "a magnificent family. I met Hadas and her family were always proud that she was a Border Police soldier standing at the front."
Herzog stressed that stressful times like the days following Friday's terror attack should inspire the government to take a clear approach regarding the conflict. "We need to take advantage of the historic opportunities to be separated from the Palestinians," he said.
The Zionist Union chairman also said that Israel was currently in the midst of an ongoing wave of terror that being ignored by the world. "In the end the question is whether we can change the reality. Terror is a phenomenon that is turning chronic throughout the world, but I believe that in difficult days like these [we] need to think above it and take advantage of the historic opportunities to separate from the Palestinians and to block extremism and terror."
Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz also spoke out in the aftermath of Friday's attack. "I knew the family of Hadas Malka who was murdered in a terrible and difficult terror attack in Jerusalem," Peretz said before urging that Israel should react decisively to such acts of terror.
"In the interest of security, a determined action is demanded against terror and to signal a border between us and the Palestinians," he added.
Former Shin Bet head and current Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri responded to Friday's attack as well. "I want to congratulate the security forces for their swift response and their dedicated efforts to look after our security," he said.
Peri also expressed his concern that the terror attacks that have struck the capital in the past two years have become increasingly complicated. "I hope that this is not the beginning of another terror wave."
Peri also said that the fact that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack was baseless and that he doubted that the terror organization actually executed the attack, instead suggesting that the perpetrators were inspired by ISIS.
"There is a bloody conflict and differing opinions between ISIS and Hamas. Hamas is trying to make clear that it is a people's uprising of the Palestinians against the 'Zionist occupation' and it is in Hamas's interest to present [themselves] as such."
Former minister Avi Gabay who is currently running for head of the Zionist Union also extended his condolences to the family of the slain border policewoman, and stated that "we are in the middle of a third intifada and next to the military confrontation, we must strive for a political settlement that will create the required and just separation between the two peoples."
Friday's attack saw two Palestinians open fire at a group of Israeli police officers in Jerusalem's Old City. The two then tried to stab the policemen but were shot dead. At another scene, a Palestinian fatally stabbed Staff Sergeant Major Hadas Malka. She was taken to the emergency care unit at nearby Hadassah University Medical Center in critical condition after sustaining multiple stab wounds during the attack. Hospital officials later pronounced her dead after failing to save her life.
Israeli police said on Friday all the assailants were from Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Two of the attackers, both from Ramallah, were between the ages of 18 and 19 and the third was a 30-year-old from Hebron, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.
The assaults took place simultaneously in two areas near the Damascus gate of Jerusalem's walled Old City.
No connection has been found between three Palestinians who carried out a fatal attack in Jerusalem on Friday and any organization, Israeli police said on Saturday, after Islamic State had claimed the assault.
"It was a local cell. At this stage no indication has been found it was directed by a terrorist organization nor has any connection to any organization been found," police spokeswoman Luba Simri said. JPost.com Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.