Herzog, Lapid to duel for opposition leadership on Jerusalem streets

Akunis calls on PM to adopt Levy Report authorizing outposts.

A child pays homage at the site in Jerusalem’s Old City where Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita were stabbed to death on October 3 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A child pays homage at the site in Jerusalem’s Old City where Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita were stabbed to death on October 3
Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will take their battle over the leadership of the opposition to the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday morning where they plan to hold rival press conferences minutes apart on the same bloodied street.
Herzog and Lapid both want to paint themselves as the main alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They both have become increasingly critical of the prime minister.
Lapid scheduled a press conference for Thursday morning at 9:30 on Hagai Street, the site of two murders on Saturday night and another terrorist attack on Wednesday. Minutes later, Herzog released a statement that he and Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni would speak to the media on the same street an hour earlier.
“The government has become a kindergarten without a teacher,” Herzog said Wednesday night. “The people of Israel lack security but Netanyahu has not even been able to stop himself from talking.
He failed at his job so he should reach the proper conclusion soon and resign.”
In response, senior Likud sources said Herzog is “bringing shame to the position of opposition leader. Instead of being responsible and standing with the government, in the determined fight against terrorism and Palestinian incitement that Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading, [Herzog] prefers to deal with cheap politics in a pathetic attempt to draw a few votes.”
“Whoever doesn’t contribute anything would be better off not babbling incessantly,” the source added.
MKs on the Right said Wednesday that security forces need to be free to fight terrorism determinedly. Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) called a meeting for next Monday to amend any laws that may be getting in the way of fighting terrorism.
“I urgently summoned the heads of the defense establishment to ensure that there are no legislative obstacles on my watch as committee chairman that are preventing law enforcement authorities from fighting terrorism. If such obstacles are found, I will act to remove them immediately,” Slomiansky said.
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) said that it’s clear that terrorists do not distinguish between different parts of the country and other territory under Israeli control. He said they “threaten citizens in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, in Jaffa and in Kiryat Gat.”
Zohar praised the police in Kiryat Gat, where he resides for killing a Palestinian terrorist who assaulted a soldier and “thus preventing him from being released in a future deal, just so he can continue dealing in terrorism.”
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman also praised the police handling of the incident in Kiryat Gat, and a civilian who shot and wounded a stabber in Jerusalem, saying: “Only resolute responses like these will deter potential terrorists and give the appropriate punishment.”
Also Wednesday, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis visited a settlers protest tent in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, saying he came to “strengthen Samaria settlers and the government in its battle against Palestinian terrorism.”
In an apparent criticism of Netanyahu’s reported statements to ministers that he cannot build in settlements as a response to the attacks, because of American threats, Akunis said that Israel has the right to build in its land.
“The international attempt to tie this right to any diplomatic battle is unacceptable,” Akunis said.
Akunis called on the government to adopt a government- sponsored report that proclaimed West Bank settlements as legal under international law. He also urged the government to legalize all those outposts, or unauthorized settlements, that have been built on state land.