Terror wave is no time for political games - editorial

Where does this urge to attack the government – even at the expense of the public morale – come from?

 Head of the Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich  gives a press statement at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 26, 2021.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Head of the Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich gives a press statement at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 26, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Alongside the rise in horrific attacks against Israelis, we’ve witnessed another phenomenon – politicians trying to take advantage of the situation to score points with their voter base.

This is – as the Hebrew term goes – “dancing on the blood” of the victims.

After the attack in Beersheba, in which four people were brutally stabbed to death and was the first one in the current wave of attacks – former prime minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet that he wished to send his condolences to the families of those who were killed.

He then added: “Bennett and Lapid must ignore any political consideration and immediately ensure the capture of the terrorists and the restoration of security to the residents of Beersheba and the South.”

Instead of just sharing his grief with the people, Netanyahu had to imply that because Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid chose to form a government with an Arab party – Ra’am – they are limited in their ability to respond to Arab terror attacks.

 Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu’s fellow Likud MK Galit Distal Atbaryan said a day after the deadly attack in Bnei Brak in which five people were murdered that “Naftali [Bennett] convenes the security cabinet to make a series of decisions which he will later submit to the supreme authority – the rising star of the southern faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, hoping to obtain permission to carry out these decisions.”

The “rising star of the southern faction of the Muslim Brotherhood” is, of course, Mansour Abbas, the leader of Ra’am who is tied to the southern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel and decided last year to take part in the Israeli governmental process and integrate into society by joining the coalition.

Moreover, Abbas has issued strong condemnations after all the recent attacks.

The most horrendous demonstration of “dancing on the blood” was Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich’s April Fools’ Day “joke”; Smotrich tweeted: “Even in this difficult bloody weekend we need to remember to thank @Ayelet__Shaked and the rest of the members of the Yamina Party who prevented fifth elections when they formed a left-wing government with supporters of terrorism.” To the tweet he attached a photo of the faces of the 11 victims in the recent wave of attacks with a caption saying “they will never vote again.”

Put aside the hypocrisy – Netanyahu himself tried to form a coalition with Ra’am – to say that the recent wave of attacks is because of the way the government is handling security issues and because Ra’am is a member of the government is completely false.

Terror attacks happened before Bennett was prime minister when Netanyahu led this country and, unfortunately, will likely continue after the current prime minister’s term in office as well. Netanyahu was prime minister back in 2015 when the so-called “Stabbing Intifada” broke out and 50 people lost their lives.

The opposition is right in its claim about the lack of security in the streets and that Israelis cannot know where and when it will hit you. What the opposition MKs purposely ignore is that Israel felt the same way 11 months ago, when rockets from Gaza reached almost every part of the country.

Then, the opposition did not run a fierce campaign against Netanyahu who was PM at the time. Most politicians united behind the cause and against the enemy.

So why can’t the Likud and the Religious Zionist Party do the same? Where does this urge to attack the government – even at the expense of the public morale – come from?

Saying that the government can’t fully respond to terrorism because of Ra’am is a complete lie. We see the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and the police responding when needed – just like the successful operation in Jenin on Saturday when a group of Islamic Jihad terrorists was killed on their way to attack Israelis.

The use of the victims for political purposes is unacceptable.

It is time to put aside politics and contribute to the effort to bring security to the country. Even the opposition should support that.