Text size

Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim, addressing the issue of why much of local, regional and world terrorism is directed by extremist Muslims, asked Tuesday, "What is it about Islam as a whole and the Palestinians in particular? Is it some form of cultural deprivation? Is it some genetic defect? There is something that defies explanation in this continued murderousness."

Boim was speaking at a memorial ceremony for the victims of a bus attack on the Coastal Highway 26 years ago.

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said in response that "whoever says that Palestinian behavior is caused by a genetic defect has a brain defect himself and the values of a racist fascist."

"Boim is giving racism a bad name, and returning to the same kind of primitive, sickening and dangerous racism from which the Jews have suffered for many generations," Zahalka said, and demanded that the law against racism be enforced following Boim's statements.

Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan also condemned Boim's statements and demanded he retract them, reminding the crowd that Boim used to be a high school principal.

MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) called for Boim's resignation if he does not apologize.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Hadash) said he does not think Boim should resign because the deputy defense minister acts as valuable evidence for those who think the Israeli government embraces a group of fascists.

Likud MK Yehiel Hazan supported Boim's statements.

"What Ze'ev Boim said, it hasn't been researched, but according to my experience this is true. I think he is correct. It is well-known that Arabs have been slaughtering and murdering Jews for more than a generation," Hazan said.

"I think this it is in their blood. It is something genetic. I have not researched this, but there is no other way to explain this," Hazan added. "Don't believe an Arab, even one who has been in the grave for 40 years."

Meimad leader MK Rabbi Michael Melchior slammed the statements as racist and against the tenets of Judaism and likened them to claims of genetic flaws linked to Jews by the Nazis and others throughout history.

"He is a member of the Israeli government. What he says spreads out across the world as if it is a statement issued by the Israeli government," Melchior said. "I don't think he should resign. I think he should apologize."