Border Police arrest a Palestinian youth during clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat in east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Avigdor Liberman, the head of the nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of failing to adequately deter Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza from attacking Israelis.
The remarks were in reaction to a day filled with violent incidents in both the capital and the South.
"There is no deterrence against Palestinian terrorism in Jerusalem, there's no deterrence against the rockets from Gaza, there's no security for Israelis, and there's no prime minister in Israel," Liberman said.
Liberman's colleague in the opposition, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, also lambasted the premier.
"The lack of security for Israel's citizens is a terrible reality with which we cannot reconcile," Herzog said. "We deserve to have security in Sderot, in Jerusalem, and everywhere around the country."
The opposition leader called on the government to "strike a blow at terrorism" while at the same time "taking regional and international steps that will change the face of the Middle East."
The statements by Liberman and Herzog appear to reflect a growing discontent among the electorate over the government's handling of the deteriorating security situation.
A Panels Politics poll taken for the Knesset Channel on Thursday found that an overwhelming majority of Israelis are dissatisfied with Netanyahu's performance in the face of the current spate of terrorist attacks.
The poll found that 71 percent of respondents were dissatisfied and only 24% were satisfied. Two-thirds of respondents said they felt threatened by the attacks.
When asked who they would like to see put in charge of dealing with terrorism, 26% said Liberman, 21% Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, 15% Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), and only 8% said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is actually in charge of ending the attacks in Jerusalem.
Following the poll results, Liberman issued a series of attacks against the prime minister. His office said “the public apparently understands that in the face of terrorism, the empty slogans of the prime minister and defense minister are not enough and that they need a strong man who knows what to do and will do it.”
Writing on his official Facebook page, Liberman said the public should ask the prime minister where their security and their money are. He said the prime minister should ask forgiveness from the people of Israel, especially his voters, for breaking his campaign promises and resign.
Netanyahu’s Likud said in response that it was Liberman who broke his campaign promises by saying he would join a right-wing government and then joining the Left in the opposition.
The party said in a statement that Liberman should be supporting the government’s security efforts.
Regarding the poll, Likud officials said the results were surprising because “Liberman’s party was in charge of the Public Security Ministry for years and did nothing.”Gil Hoffman and Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.