Israeli Defense Minister: Israeli Right Must Do Some Soul-searching Over Jewish Terror

Naftali Bennett responds: Some politicians are cynically exploiting West Bank arson murders to 'silence or tarnish the entire nationalist camp.'

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.Credit: David Bachar

Right-wing politicians should do some "soul searching" in light of recent cases of Jewish terrorism being uncovered by authorities, said Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday in an interview with Channel 2 News.

The ongoing Duma case, in which a group of extremist Jews killed multiple members of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family, as well as a recent video of wedding celebration of right-wing extremists with rifles, knives and fire bombs, have raised concerns of Jewish radicalism and incitement to violence against Palestinians.

According to Ya'alon, these instances result in politicians ignoring other, "seemingly less serious" offenses including the uprooting of olive trees, the burning of Palestinian property and supporting the perpetrators of such actions in "attacks against the rule of law."

Ya'alon added that encouraging illegal building and personal attacks on public figures, including himself, aided in the creation of an atmosphere that allowed the actions of the attackers in Duma and the participants in the wedding video.

The encouragement, said Ya'alon, has come from "ministers and members of Knesset, some of whom have placed their staff in illegal structures and are raising their fists against the Supreme Court."

However, Ya'alon warned that the entire religious community should not be held responsible for such actions.

"What was seen in the wedding is not Jewish. It's far from Jewish," concluded the defense minister.

Habayit Hayehudi Chair and Education Minister Naftali Bennett replied on his Facebook page to Ya'alon's comments, writing that the media and "some politicians" were cynically exploiting the events at Duma to "silence or tarnish the entire nationalist camp."

"Whoever politically exploits the incident in Duma will find me in his way. Without blinking an eye." Bennett continued.

Additional security was assigned to Bennett on Friday, including a personal body guard, in light of an extremist right-wing movement connected to arrests in the Duma case.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Habayit Hayehudi, joined Bennett in condemning Ya'alon's comments saying that he was "trying to gain political collateral from the situation."

According to Shaked, Habayit Hayehudi party members "never backed law breakers."