Rivlin calls for crackdown on terrorism in Jerusalem

Livni, Lapid say response must be measured, responsible; housing minister calls to allow Jews to pray on Temple Mount; Arab, Jewish MKs lament closure of holy site.

Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Law enforcement must act quickly to quell violence in the capital, President Reuven Rivlin said Thursday following the attempted assassination of Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehudah Glick.
“Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and we cannot tolerate the existence of terrorism in the city,” he said.
Rivlin called for Jerusalemites not to be “dragged into a dangerous whirlpool of emotions.”
Similarly, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said politicians and Jerusalem residents should behave responsibly and not call for revenge, so that innocent people are not harmed.
Lapid commended the Shin Bet and police for finding the terrorist who shot Glick quickly and said terrorists should know they will be found and killed.
“We will not be deterred. Jerusalem is ours and we will continue to build it and live in it and we’re not asking anyone for permission,” he declared.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called the situation in Jerusalem “explosive” and said police and law enforcement must behave responsibly and calmly.
Livni said all ministers must “close their ears to the calls of extremists” and bring calm.
“We don’t have to bring sovereignty back to Jerusalem, we already have it.
What we need to bring back is quiet. We do that by being careful, not populist.
That is the responsibility of all the leadership on Right, Left and Center.... This is not a question of what we have the right to do, it is a question of what is the smart thing to do,” she told Army Radio.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel slammed what he called the police’s policy of containment when facing terrorism.
“If we contain the events, they see that as weakness, and when there’s weakness, they press more,” he told Israel Radio.
“They throw Molotov cocktails, which can kill, and police don’t shoot back at them. The average Arab understands from that he can throw another.
“There needs to be a change in policy.
Without one, [bringing quiet] will be a long process with many victims,” he said.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud), who spoke at the same conference as Glick immediately before he was shot, said: “It cannot be that a Jew who is fighting for his ideology faces assassination attempts.”
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On condemned the murder attempt, saying no political disagreement justifies violence or terrorism.
Gal-On called for law enforcement to act strongly against “Israeli and Palestinian attempts to light the Temple Mount and all of Jerusalem on fire.
“Right-wing activists’ attempts to ascend the Temple Mount are not only made in an attempt to exercise the right to freedom of worship. Rather, they are part of an extreme nationalist agenda and an attempt to violate the status quo,” she said.
When police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers and all Muslims except for employees of the Wakf Muslim religious trust, politicians spun the move in different ways.
MK Zevulun Kalfa lamented that the site was closed to all Jews but that some Muslims were allowed to pray in the mosque on the Mount.
“Closing the Temple Mount to Jews while Muslims riot shows weakness,” he said.
Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) visited al-Aksa Mosque with the head of the Wakf and other Muslim clerics, saying that its partial closure is “a dangerous decision that provokes the entire Muslim world.”
Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.