Israel should build massively in Jerusalem as part of its answer to the type of terrorism that struck the capital again on Sunday morning, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said before Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
Ariel’s comments to reporters before the weekly cabinet session came within an hour of news of the Jerusalem shooting attacks. Part of the answer to these attacks, he said, beyond the security component, “is massive building and removing from the heart of our enemies the idea that we will ever move from a united Jerusalem. That will minimize the potential for attacks in Jerusalem.”
Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi said Israel was accustomed to these types of cruel and indiscriminate attacks carried out by terrorists.
“We will continue doing what we have done over the last year in successfully and effectively warding off these attacks and enhancing security as much as possible,” he said. Asked if he agreed with Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz who reportedly said that in response to the attacks, Israel had to “hit them on the head,” Hanegbi said that was an expression used in soccer stadiums, and that he preferred to express himself differently.
Bayit Yehudi MK Mordechai Yogev called for the cabinet to immediately permit construction, for the IDF to enter Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and to destroy Hamas.
“Every attack requires a Zionist response of authorizing new building plans in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria,” Yogev said. “This must be accompanied by public diplomacy telling the world that the land belongs to the people of Israel who desire life, and not to terrorists who sanctify death.”
Yogev’s Bayit Yehudi colleague, MK Bezalel Smotrich, said the world must be told that it is not building in Judea and Samaria that distances peace and that “the real enemies of peace are the Palestinians.”
“The State of Israel cannot accept a reality of murderers and terrorists on its streets,” Smotrich said. “The enemy must be made to understand that there is a price for murderousness, and the government of Israel will insist on it being exacted. Only removing the hopes of the terrorists will end the terrorism, and only decisive victory will stop the madness.”
Likud MK Anat Berko said Interior Minister Arye Deri must immediately begin the process of canceling the citizenship and residency rights of terrorists and their families.
“I have asked him to do this many times, and unfortunately, nothing has been done,” she said.
MKs in the Center-Left also released statements condemning the violence. “The IDF and the security forces must respond harshly without compromise,” said Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar.
“The Palestinians must realize that the path of terrorism will not help them accomplish their goals; it will only distance them light years away. The government must internalize that alongside fighting terrorism it must initiate courageous diplomatic steps.”
Bar served on the Jerusalem City Council before becoming an MK, as did his neighbor, Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria.
“This is a difficult day for Jerusalem, but we Jerusalemites have overcome many difficult days of terrorism,” Azaria said. “As we Jerusalemites know, the true victory is the holiness of going on with everyday life. People should come from all over for activities in the city during the holidays. Jerusalem needs you, and this is how we will win.”
President Reuven Rivlin voiced his concern for the well-being of the injured and conveyed condolences and a warm embrace to the families of those whom the terrorist murdered.
“The past year has not been easy,” he said. “We are now experiencing another wave of terrorism in our streets. Time after time as happened this morning, the Civil Guard has found itself on the front lines.”
Rivlin said that he wanted to thank all the men and women in Israel’s security network who day and night defend the nation with their bodies. “We must not give terrorism the power to weaken us, and we must remain alert and vigilant to safeguard our security,” he declared.Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.