PM Netanyahu at Carmel Fire ceremony_311.
(photo credit: Channel 10 )
The public must not generalize and allow extremists to represent entire segments
of society, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in the
Netanyahu addressed two recent, controversial issues – “price
tag” attacks and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) discrimination against women – in his
speech responding to a Kadima- initiated discussion in the Knesset plenum on
“The Netanyahu government’s failures.”
The prime minister called for
Israelis to unite around these topics, about which there is a “wide consensus in
“If we’re united, we can better deal with challenges that
threaten us,” he said. “We can also take on threats from marginal groups in
Referring to the incident in which a haredi man spat on a
eight-year-old girl walking to school in Beit Shemesh, Netanyahu said the State
of Israel cannot accept spitting on people for any reason. Anyone who harasses
women or anyone else must be stopped, he said, explaining that as a Western,
liberal democracy, Israel’s public space is open to all.
At the same
time, the prime minister said, most haredim abide by the law, and haredi
leaders, including rabbis, MKs and ministers, condemned the recent
“We must not generalize,” Netanyahu said. “To include [all
haredim] in the violence of a marginal, law-breaking group would be
The prime minister also referred to the “price-tag”
attack on an IDF base near the Jordanian border earlier this month, saying a
“small but dangerous group threatens an entire [settler] population that works
hard and serves in the IDF.”
Following Netanyahu’s statement, opposition
leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said recent events were not coincidental, and the
theme that connects them is the government’s responsibility.
of Israel turned into the wild west,” she said.
“Never before did people
spit on little girls or burn down mosques.” Livni said the time has come for the
government to say what is the source of authority – rabbis or the
According to the Kadima leader, the public does not hate haredim.
They are angry at the government for allowing a minority to promote a state
ruled by Jewish law, she said, and they are upset because they are being asked
to choose between Judaism and democracy, when the two are not
“The prime minister only gets upset after he makes sure
his coalition approves,” Livni said, saying Netanyahu’s policies are an attempt
to appease haredi factions. However, she said, Zionism must win the current