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Ben-Gvir and Smotrich: Enemies of Israel, Enemies of Peace

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Ben-Gvir's shirt sarcastically reads 'my prime minister' below a picture of Arab MK Mansour Abbas.
Ben-Gvir's shirt sarcastically reads 'my prime minister' below a picture of Arab MK Mansour Abbas. Credit: Maya Alleruzzo /AP

When the awful terror attack occurred in Bnei Brak, I checked the time and waited. I knew he was on his way. He always shows up first. He’s an expert in gloating over other people’s disasters. It doesn’t matter to him that he’s playing into the hands of the enemy, who wants civil war. Just like he fanned the flames of hate on the eve of Rabin's murder, he's now stirring up hate for Naftali Bennet. He feeds on blood and fire.

Lawmaker and Religious Zionist party member Itamar Ben-Gvir forced his way through the crowd to face Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev at the site of the attack, shouting: “Shame on you.” Bar-Lev replied: “Shame on you, you’re nobody.”

It’s obvious who should be ashamed. The one who has been convicted of seven criminal acts, including support for a terror organization and incitement of racism. He’s also an ardent worshiper of Rabbi Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein.

Every time Ben-Gvir appears on the scene of a terror attack, he demands the government and the defense forces strike, destroy and annihilate – but he himself hasn’t served a single day in the army. It's rather frustrating that he even dares open his mouth against Bar-Lev, who was once commander of Sayeret Matkal (The General Staff's elite special operations force), and has risked his life countless times in defense of Israel – and of Ben-Gvir.

Immediately after Ben-Gvir’s despicable performance, fellow Religious Zionism MK Bezalel Smotrich arrived on the scene in Bnei Brak. He too heatedly blasted the government for their failure to annihilate, destroy, and banish. And not much different from Ben-Gvir, it turns out that this hero opted to stay in yeshiva while his friends joined combat units in the army. After ten whole years there, he went on to study law, and only at age 28 did he deign to enlist – serving a shortened military service that consisted of one year of paper-pushing in the Kirya. Talking a big talk is Smotrich's forté.

Many other right-wingers were inciting as well. They want chaos. They crave the blood and fire that would pull the government apart. Yet as they rant and rave, they forget that throughout Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year reign, the government didn't prevent terror organizations in the West Bank from stocking up on firearms, nor did they close the breaches in the separation fence, and nothing was done to stop Israeli Arabs from accumulating about 150,000 illegal weapons.

So it’s true that the sequence of attacks is frightening. It’s also true that the Shin Bet failed to prevent the last three attacks – but it did prevent 60 other terrible attacks, and after all, it's impossible to intercept every lone assailant. Additionally, this is not the most terrible wave of terror attacks we've experienced. During the second intifada, more than 1,000 people were murdered; in 2015, we underwent the knife-intifada which saw dozens of fatalities on city streets; and in May 2021, we were shocked as murder and arson attacks hit mixed Jewish-Arab cities as missiles were simultaneously being fired at us from Gaza.

The difference is that when Netanyahu’s government was in power, nobody expressed malicious satisfaction when innocent people were murdered. The right supported him even in the darkest of hours. In contrast, the current coalition, which consists of the right, the left and the Arabs – is being bashed from all sides. From the nationalist right, of course, but also from the left – who claim Bennet devoted "too much time" to Russia, Ukraine, and the Negev conference, as though it were redundant to strengthen our status in the world and forge an alliance against Iran.

This terror wave will pass, as the previous ones have. The army, the Shin Bet and the police are already acting on the ground. In addition to them – hidden in the dark sea of fear – there is a glimmering beam of hope: the extraordinary cooperation between the right-wing prime minister and Mansour Abbas of the United Arab List.

Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List, attends a Knesset session in Jerusalem last June. Credit: Ariel Schalit /AP

In response to the attack, Abbas said: “A heinous, abominable crime of terror has taken place in Bnei Brak…we must initiate a process of reconciliation and partnership, of education for tolerance and the sanctity of human life…we are resolved to make our way to peace to the chagrin of all the fanatics…we’ll act with all our strength so that all of our holidays pass peacefully and without fear.” so that all of our holidays pass peacefully and without fear."

Ben-Gvir and Smotrich don't even understand the meaning of such words.

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