Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday for comments he said were divisive, following a car-ramming attack in the West Bank in which three soldiers were injured.
“Someone who takes advantage of a terror attack to deepen the division among [Israeli] citizens doesn’t deserve to be prime minister,” said Lapid to an audience at the Academic Collage in Ashkelon. Lapid was referring to a statement by Netanyahu after the attack Thursday in which he said he found it “strange that those who hastened to condemn terrorism against Palestinians are silent when terrorism is directed against Jews.”
“The prime minister condemned the attack but then he started settling scores with those who condemned the attack against [the Dawabsha family, in which Ali Dawabsha was killed], over whether they sufficiently condemned attacks against Jews,” Lapid charged.
“Is this your role, Mr. Prime Minister, to take this attack and spark a dispute, to divide and pit one against the other? Your role should be to unite and reconcile [between groups] and not deepen the divide and the hatred,” Lapid said.
Terror, said Lapid, whether Jewish or Arab, should be fought, but we must remember that at the end of the day we have a shared life to lead.
“The role of the leadership should be to allow people to live together,” he said.
Two of the wounded soldiers in Thursday’s were taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood, both in serious condition; the third — with light-moderate wounds — was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
There was wide praise for the Israeli troops who swiftly ended the attack by opening fire on the driver. He lost control of the car which then flipped over. The driver is now in Shaare Zedek Hospital in serious condition.
“I am proud of our soldiers who reacted immediately and hit the terrorist,” President Reuven Rivlin said. “I support the prime minister and the security establishment in the fight for our right to lead normal lives, and wish and pray for the health and safety of the injured.”
He vowed that “there will be no tolerance for terrorism” in Israel.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also said after the attack that Israel would meet Palestinian terrorism with “an iron fist” and “zero tolerance.”
Israel “employs its top people and capabilities to prevent terror attacks,” he said, and is mostly successful in thwarting attacks that target “Jews just because they are Jews.”
Unfortunately, he said, “sometimes the terrorists achieve their goals.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan called for stringent measures against terrorists, and suggested that Israel adopt a policy of deporting the families of terrorists, Army Radio reported.
Palestinian terror group Hamas praised the attack in a post on its Twitter account, calling it “a natural response to the occupation and the settlers in the West Bank,” Channel 10 television reported.