Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Friday said that Israelis must do some serious “soul-searching” after a Palestinian toddler was killed in an arson attack, likely by Jewish extremists.
“We have a lot of lessons to learn as a society as a result of the incidents of last night,” said Erdan. “The signs point to this attack being carried out by Jews. A nation whose children were burned in the Holocaust needs to do a lot of soul-searching if it bred people who burn other human beings.”
The minister urged “restraint, calm and coexistence,” in the aftermath of the attack in the village of Duma.
Two homes in the Palestinian village south of Nablus, were set alight, and the Hebrew words “Revenge” and “Long live the king messiah” were spray-painted on their walls, alongside a Star of David, overnight Thursday-Friday. The child killed in the attack, Ali Saad Dawabsha, was 18 months old. The infant’s parents, as well as his 4-year-old brother, were all injured and evacuated to the hospital. The mother and toddler were reported to be in critical condition.
The attack was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli politicians.
President Reuven Rivlin spoke to Arabic media on Friday, in a bid to help calm tensions. The president was set to visit the injured Palestinian family later Friday afternoon at the Tel Hashomer Medical Center.
“In the face of a wave of terror against the innocent, the loss of life, and the loss of law and order, the State of Israel and Israeli society must carry some soul-searching. Introspection that will find expression not just in words but in action,” said Rivlin.
Rivlin lamented Israel’s failure to crack down on Jewish terrorists, which he said the Jewish state greatly underestimated.
“To my great sorrow, until now it seems we have been lax in our treatment of the phenomena of Jewish terrorism. Perhaps we did not internalize that we are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build,” he said.
Addressing Israel’s Arab citizens and the Palestinians, the president urged restraint.
“At these painful moments, I turn to the Arab citizens of Israel, and the Palestinian people, to all law-abiding citizens, and ask that you do not succumb to the shock and anger. This is a time to join together.”
“The law enforcement and the legal system will find the murderers, and bring them to justice,” he continued. “We must allow the law enforcement services to carry out the task bestowed upon them, and be aware not to be drawn into needless acts of violence.”