Israel's Education Minister to Arab Lawmakers: You're Either Normal Israelis or Terrorists, So Choose

In Knesset speech, Bennett calls to end policy of 'handing out carrots to Palestinians,' says Arab MKs have 'poured fuel on the fire' with Temple Mount crisis

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett speaks with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman during the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on July 23, 2017.
ABIR SULTAN/AFP

In a speech at the Knesset on Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett accused Arab lawmakers of abetting "anti-Semitic blood libel" and inflaming tensions over the Temple Mount crisis.

Addressing the plenum, Bennett said,"Here in this hall are partners in an anti-Semitic blood libel against Israel. Members of Knesset, you know that the Temple Mount is open. Anyone who wants to may pray there. Why don’t you tell the public the truth?"

"It's no secret that I opposed the removal of the security measures from the Temple Mount, but at this point I'm backing the prime minister," said Bennett. "There are two sides in the war on terror, there are good people and there are murderers."

Israel's security cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount that led to a wave of protests from Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as the Arab world. The cabinet's decision on Monday emphasized that the metal detectors would be replaced by technologically advanced security cameras.

Bennett also blasted Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for his comments on Israel's steps, taken after two Border Police officers were killed by three Arab Israeli assailants at the Mount. The Habayit Hayehudi chairman said that Turkey's "internal problems should not be solved on Israel's back. It's time to choose between joining the West and joining terror organizations."

He called on lawmakers to "change course in the face of the challenges of terror, to move from a policy of handing out carrots to the Palestinians to exacting a heavy price for terror." 

"Throughout the past 10 days, we have witnessed the deliberate inflaming of both Palestinian and Israeli Arabs in an attempt to inflame the atmosphere," said the education minister. "The war on terror must be conducted on a unified and determined front without spreading laxity."

Responding to comments made by Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi (Joint List), who claimed Bennett had called to kill Arabs, the education minister clarified: "I never said we should kill Arabs, but terrorists – yes. That's what I did during my army service and I will continue to do so. I wish more terrorists would leave this world."

"Only 10 days ago there was a cold blooded murder by Israeli Arab citizens who murdered two Israeli police officers," he added. "That happened without metal detectors or cameras. It happened because they wanted to murder Israelis. Since then, some Arab MKs have not missed an opportunity to pour fuel on the fire. You want to be normal Israelis, no problem, but if you want to join terrorists, then your place is with them. We won't let it go.”