Israel's politicians react to Old City shooting: 'A hideous murder'

Coalition MKs condemned the attack and sent condolences and recovery wishes to the man killed and the people wounded, while opposition MKs used the attack to lambast the government.

 Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev at the scene of a terrorist attack that left one dead and three injured, November 21, 2021.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev at the scene of a terrorist attack that left one dead and three injured, November 21, 2021.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Legislators from both sides of the political divide reacted to the terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem in which one man was killed and four were wounded on Sunday morning.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who called to pray for the wounded, said he had received an update from Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and that security forces had increased their vigilance to thwart further attacks.

“There was very swift action by our forces, the two policemen who were at the scene very quickly neutralized the terrorist. However, this is the second recent terror attack in Jerusalem and I instructed security forces to prepare accordingly, display vigilance and watch out for more attacks,” Bennett said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz commended the forces on hand “who acted quickly and resolutely and prevented a much more severe attack.”

Sending his condolences to the family of the man who was killed, and best wishes to those wounded, Gantz said that Israel “will continue to fight terrorism wherever it raises its head.”

Bar Lev, who arrived at the scene, said that the assailant, Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, a 42-year-old teacher from the Shuafat camp in east Jerusalem and a known Hamas member, came to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque on a daily basis and that on Sunday he brought a Beretta M12 submachine gun and started shooting.

“A tough incident this morning was dealt with quickly and professionally by the men and women of the Israel Police,” Bar Lev said.

The terrorist is affiliated with Hamas’ political wing who prayed regularly in the Old City, and whose wife fled abroad three days ago. He used a standard weapon and that is uncommon in Israel,” he said.

“Whoever kills and wounds civilians in the heart of Jerusalem is a hideous murderer, not a shahid [martyr] or a hero,” wrote Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin of Labor, who was criticized during the recent election campaign for not honoring Remembrance Day.

“I send condolences to the family of the person who was killed and hope for a full recovery for the injured and hope for better days,” she wrote.

“For decades, Ra’am has opposed, condemned and acted to prevent harm to innocent people on both sides, and it will continue to do so, especially when it comes to innocent civilians,” the party said following the attack.

“Ra’am has always called to protect the sanctity of life, and to avoid any form of violence, and to strive to live together in peace, security, partnership and tolerance, as set out in Ra’am’s vision.”

“The Likud cannot preach morality to Ra’am and MK Mansour Abbas, period,” the party added.

“The Likud was in government for many years and failed to achieve peace and security and internal stability, so its time ran out and it was replaced. The Likud must come to terms with the fact that there is a different government now, and, for a change, it is a functioning government.”

Ra'am's response was only issued in Hebrew, and not in Arabic, N12 reported.

President Isaac Herzog, who is on an official visit in London, took to Twitter following and wrote that “The fact the terrorist was from Hamas “political wing” compels the international community to designate it as a terror group.

“I mourn with the Kay family and pray for the recovery of the injured.”

Right-wing politicians also denounced the attack.

“I send condolences from the depth of my heart to the family of the man who was murdered, and pray with you for the recovery of the people injured in the difficult attack in Jerusalem,” opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

“Hamas, which is behind the attack, must pay a heavy price for this criminal murder in the heart of our capital,” he wrote.

“Just a year ago, the Supreme Court rejected my appeal to place metal detectors 50 meters from the entrance to the Temple Mount,” wrote Religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir. “If they had done so, the results would not have been so severe.”

Ben-Gvir also blamed the government for the attack, arguing that Israel’s enemies can sense its weakness and are taking advantage of it.

Others pointed out what they saw as the government’s capitulation to Mansour Abbas as the cause for the attack.

“The voice is the voice of Abbas, and the hands are the hands of Hamas,” Religious Zionist head MK Betzalel Smotrich wrote on Twitter.

Religious Zionist party CEO Yehuda Vald called on Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy to cancel a conference scheduled to be held in the Knesset tomorrow on settler violence towards Palestinians in the West Bank.

“While Jewish blood is spilled like water in the streets of the Old City near the remains of our Holy Temple, a conference is scheduled tomorrow led by the radical Left in the government that will deal with settler violence,” he wrote.

“One cannot isolate the environment in the Knesset, that there are terror supporters in the government, that billions are being transferred to the Islamic Movement and leftist factions are reviving Arab nationalist sentiment – from the terror running rampant on the streets,” he added.

“This is the appropriate time to unify the nationalist camp and Am Yisrael and not create divisions and incitement on behalf of terror supporters and extreme elements.”

MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) wrote:

“I mourn the death of the man killed this morning in the Old City in the criminal terrorist attack, and send my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to the wounded.”

“Terror shootings and killings do not justify settler violence against [Palestinians]. In order to ensure a stable and sustainable future in the region, we must not only fight violence from without but also directly address and eradicate the violence that emerges from Jewish-Israeli society,” Raz wrote.