Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that a string of recent deadly terrorist attacks in Israel should serve as a wake-up call, but that more than 15 other such attacks had been foiled recently.
“The last two weeks, in which we have been dealing with severe terrorist attacks, are a wake-up call for all of us,” Bennett told reporters during a visit to an army outpost in the West bank. The prime minister said that the series of attacks must spur officials to take action “after years of neglect, and fix what needs to be fixed with all our might.”
Kan news reported that Israel’s high-level security cabinet will convene on Sunday to discuss rising tensions with Palestinians and fears of violence during Ramadan. The meeting will be the second in under two weeks, after the cabinet had not met for months.
Eleven people were killed in terrorist attacks in Beersheba, Hadera, and Bnei Brak in recent weeks, the deadliest such string of attacks in Israel in several years. Officials have expressed concern over a greater escalation during the holy month of Ramadan and as Passover approaches.
Bennett said that security officials are currently “operating in a very aggressive manner. So far, the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Israel Police have foiled more than 15 serious attacks that were planned by terrorist elements in the West Bank and the rest of Israel.”
He said that more than 200 suspects have already been arrested and dozens of raids have been carried out, and more than 400 individuals with connections to Islamic State or other “extreme jihadist organizations” have been identified. The attacks in Beersheba and Hadera were claimed by IS adherents.
“It seems to me that there is no citizen in the State of Israel who does not feel the massive reinforcement of the police and security forces in the country,” Bennett said Tuesday. “The feeling of security is for us a very, very important goal.”
The prime minister urged citizens to go about their daily lives as usual.
“In the near future we are in a situation I call ‘vigilant routine,'” he said, noting that citizens “must return to routine,” while security forces must remain on high alert. “I urge everyone to keep going to work as usual, send the kids to school, go out and travel around the country.”
There have been near-nightly riots in Jerusalem since Ramadan began, with dozens arrested and wounded during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
Also Tuesday, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev awarded a certificate of appreciation to the police officer who helped shoot dead the terrorist who killed five people in Bnei Brak last week, including his partner Amir Khouri.
“The rare courage of both you and Amir is truly worthy of all appreciation and admiration,” Barlev told the officer, who remained unnamed.