(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The heads of Peace Now, Meretz, and the Joint (Arab) List are rarely quoted at a meeting of the Likud faction, but thanks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they were the stars of the ruling party’s weekly event on Monday.
Netanyahu spoke to his MKs about a fire that destroyed the office of the left-wing non-governmental organization B’Tselem on Sunday. He mocked left-wing leaders for rushing to blame the Right for the fire before finding out it was caused by an electrical short circuit.
He quoted Joint List head Ayman Odeh, who said “the fire was ignited by the government and the man who heads it” and Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer who called the fire a “terrorist attack” carried out by Netanyahu and his ministers.
“Even before the flames were extinguished, MKs and leftwing organizations decided the nationalist camp and me in particular were directly responsible,” Netanyahu said. “All these lies won’t stop me from leading our determined struggle against terrorism, according to the path of the Likud and the national camp, to guarantee the security of Israel and its citizens.”
Netanyahu said that while the government was arresting terrorists and destroying their homes to deter further attacks, the opposition was starting an advertising campaign against him rather than supporting him.
Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog told his faction Monday that Israel was in the midst of an uprising, in which 27 Israelis have been killed and hundreds wounded. He called Netanyahu “the prime minister of the third intifada.”
“If the former Mr. Security would look in the mirror, he would find a tired man who has all the time in the world for irrelevant political games and a Likud primary in which he is running against himself,” Herzog said.
Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman told his faction he was happy to hear the fire was caused by an electrical problem and not a right-wing arsonist.
“No one should take the law into their own hands, even against traitors,” Liberman said. “Nevertheless, the time has come to stop being politically correct. Organizations like B’tselem and Breaking the silence are traitors par excellence.”
Liberman further accused these groups of having been “born to harm Israel. They don’t care about human rights. They are mercenaries who do what they do out of greed.”