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Bennett calls for imprisonment, expulsion of terrorists’ families

Amid escalation of terror attacks, politicians from right and left urge tough action to stem the tide of deadly assaults

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett on Channel 2's 'Meet the Press', June 4, 2016  (Channel 2 screenshot)
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett on Channel 2's 'Meet the Press', June 4, 2016 (Channel 2 screenshot)

Politicians and public figures on Friday demanded a tough response to terrorism after two days of attacks that left two Israelis — Rabbi Miki Mark, and 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel — dead and injured several others.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, said he would present the security cabinet on Saturday night with a far-reaching plan to halt the wave of terror attacks in recent months and days.

Suggestions included in his plan, he said, were the imprisonment or expulsion of terrorists’ families; the arrest of all Hamas operatives in the West Bank; the destruction of thousands of illegally built homes in the West Bank; the complete closure of the villages of assailants; resumption of full military activity in West Bank areas that are under the control of the Palestinian Authority; preventing Palestinian vehicles from traveling on Route 60 — the West Bank’s main north-to-south road; and disabling the Internet in the entire Hebron region.

“Facebook is the central tool of incitement in the ‘viral’ terror wave,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security assessments following Friday’s attack, in which Rabbi Miki Mark was shot dead, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman. A meeting of the security cabinet, of which Bennett is a member, was set for Saturday evening.

Bennett expressed irritation with the fact that the meeting had not been called for Friday. “Terrorists do not keep Shabbat,” he said. “Failure to respond severely after an attack will lead to another attack.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a national state of emergency. “We must understand that we are in a state of all-out war and act accordingly,” he said. “We must declare a state of emergency.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog claimed government ministers were more concerned with fighting with each other than finding real solutions to the spate of attacks.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on March 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on March 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“We are again plagued with a wave of terrorism that has cut short the lives of civilians… and the only thing the cabinet does is squabble,” he said. “It is comprised of ‘Facebook heroes’ who do not dare to make serious decisions on the future of Israel and its security, creating spin and headlines and fighting with each other as terror continues to hit us.”

Herzog wished a swift recovery to the family of Mark, the head of an Otniel yeshiva who was killed Friday afternoon when his family’s car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron. His wife and two of his children were injured in the attack.

President Reuven Rivlin also sent his condolences to the Mark family “after the murder of their dear father Michael (Miki), and I join in the prayers being said now across Israel for the full recovery of the family’s mother and children.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a press conference after a session of the EU Parliament in Brussels on June 22, 2016. (AFP Photo/John Thys)
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a press conference after a session of the EU Parliament in Brussels on June 22, 2016. (AFP Photo/John Thys)

He also expressed his support for “the IDF and the security services, who will apprehend these vicious murderers.”

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also weighed in, condemning the attack and calling on the “Palestinian leadership to completely end this barbaric behavior… This cannot become the ‘new normal.’ It has to stop!”

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