Settler violence is a strategic threat to Israel, Horowitz warns

This is the latest in a number of leaked media reports about heated conversations in the security cabinet on settler violence.

 SETTLERS HURL stones at Palestinians during the annual harvest season, near the settlement of Yitzhar in 2020.  (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
SETTLERS HURL stones at Palestinians during the annual harvest season, near the settlement of Yitzhar in 2020.
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

Settler violence is a “national strategic threat” designed to spark a violent conflict with the Palestinians, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) warned during a closed-door debate in the security cabinet, Army Radio reported Sunday.

“These are organized and preplanned activities designed to drag Israel into violence and bloodshed,” he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not respond to his words during the meeting, which took place last week, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) defended the settlers.

Horowitz said the army needs to do more to halt such violence.

Gantz said the army prevents many incidents and has worked to halt others.

 An injured man is evacuated after clashes between Israel Police forces and settlers broke out in Kumi Ori on December 31, 2021 (credit: ELAZAR RIGER) An injured man is evacuated after clashes between Israel Police forces and settlers broke out in Kumi Ori on December 31, 2021 (credit: ELAZAR RIGER)

Army Radio said it based its report on information from three ministers.

Bennett’s office said it did not respond to queries about the substance of cabinet debates, adding that the prime minister’s views were well known. He opposed slandering the settler population and agreed it was important to halt any such violent activity.

It is the latest in a number of leaked media reports about heated conversations in the security cabinet on the matter, which has also generated very public debates in the Knesset.

The Left has bemoaned the lack of adequate law enforcement, while the Right has argued that attention would be better directed to Palestinian violence against Israelis.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan retorted that Horowitz was “infected with a severe post-corona strain of anti-Israel hatred, a virus that was probably affecting not only his heart but his eyes.”

What is “shameful” here is not Horowitz’s words, “for we have become accustomed to “delusional hatred from the radical and insane extremist Left,” he said. What is “shameful here” is that such a person is a minister and cabinet member in the Israeli government.

Efrat Council head Oded Revivi said it was “unfortunate that the health minister had not battled for [the country’s] health with the same determination that he fought against his brothers the settlers.”

“Violence in any form in any place in any society is a threat,” he said, adding that there were more violent civilian attacks in Israeli cities than there were nationalistic crimes in Judea and Samaria.