Bennett equates far-left activists to Duma terrorists

Education minister says extremists on both sides follow same dynamic, blasts retired diplomat Alon Liel for advising Breaking the Silence

Education Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, August 31, 2015 (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, August 31, 2015 (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday compared radical left activists and groups with the Jewish extremists who allegedly torched a Palestinian home in the West Bank, killing three members of a single family.

Extremists from both sides of the political spectrum do not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state, he said in a speech to students at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot,

Bennett, who heads the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, added that the population in Israel was split between the “Zionist majority” that believed in the State of Israel and a pessimistic minority of extremists who did not recognize its legitimacy.

Those responsible for killing three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in Duma, he said, “do not recognize the State of Israel; they have lost all hope of convincing the people of Israel about their position, and they want to topple our house on top of us,” he said. (Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish extremist, was charged with murder earlier this month for the Duma killings.)

Alon Liel (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Alon Liel (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Bennett then drew a comparison with the Israeli far-left: “But on the other hand, exactly the same, in the radical left you see the same dynamic. They’ve lost hope,” he continued.

Bennett singled out Alon Liel, a former director of the Foreign Ministry, who recently met with heads of Breaking the Silence, a group that collects testimonies from IDF soldiers about alleged misconduct they witnessed or perpetrated while in service.

Liel briefed heads of the group on how to deal with criticism. According to a report in the Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth Wednesday, he explained to them why it was important that they focus their activity outside Israel, told them what lessons they could glean from the international boycott against apartheid South Africa, and described how he had worked to prevent the appointment of settler leader Dani Dayan to the post of ambassador to Brazil.

“Sanctions against South Africa started when public opinion realized that black is white and white is black,” Liel reportedly said. “As soon as it happened in European public opinion, it started happening. You are spearheading the effort to tell the world that the occupation is intolerable to us and intolerable to [the Palestinians]. It’s intolerable for both peoples, and as soon as there will be recognition that it’s intolerable, things will start to change.”

Bennett characterized Liel on Thursday as someone who had “lost hope.”

“When I see a man who was the director of the Foreign Ministry and he briefs the activists of Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem and tells them we need to pay Arabs money to riot and attack IDF soldiers, so that images will circulate around the world and the State of Israel will be attacked – that’s a man who lost hope. The radical left is promoting the boycotting of Israel around the world and then goes around saying they are being subjected to boycotts because of the right,” Bennett said.

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