Netanyahu: Israel in ‘world war’ with Islamic extremists
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Netanyahu: Israel in ‘world war’ with Islamic extremists

Following Hezbollah threat to avenge Kuntar assassination, PM warns Jewish state will react forcefully to any attack

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on December 27, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on December 27, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Israel is involved in a “world war” against two major streams of Islamic extremists and must deal with the threats they pose, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

“Nobody said that the attacks would stop when a Jewish state arose,” the prime minister said at a President’s Residence ceremony to honor outstanding officials in the Mossad intelligence agency. Quoting Psalm 121, he added: “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

“Israel has enemies and friends for whom the very mention of the Mossad gives them ‘the chills,'” Netanyahu added. “They know that the long arm of the State of Israel is not a cliche but the real truth.”

Israel, the prime minister also warned, would respond with force to any attack against it — a thinly veiled threat to Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

File: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discusses the death of terrorist Samir Kuntar, allegedly at the hands of Israel, in a televised speech from Beirut on December 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
File: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discusses the death of terrorist Samir Kuntar, allegedly at the hands of Israel, in a televised speech from Beirut on December 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

Nasrallah said Sunday that a retaliation for last week’s assassination of Samir Kuntar, attributed to Israel, would “inevitably come.” He said Israelis should be afraid in their own country, along the Israel-Lebanon border, and abroad.

But, said Netanyahu, “All our enemies should know that we will react with force against any attack against us.”

President Reuven Rivlin, meanwhile, condemned recent social media attacks on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, saying that the “discourse of hatred” directed against her was “obscene, violent and despicable.” People had the right to argue and protest, but “incitement and degradation” of a publicly elected figure, “particularly by educators of the public,” was not the way.

Hebrew University Professor Ofer Cassif (Facebook)
Hebrew University Professor Ofer Cassif (Facebook)

Rivlin was referring to Facebook posts by two Hebrew University professors, Ofer Cassif and Amiram Goldblum.

Goldman charged that one of the supporters of Shaked’s election campaign had made money selling arms to killers in Sierra Leone and South America.

Cassif called Shaked a neo-Nazi, calling her “not only a partner responsible for the fascization [sic] of Israel but also an indirect partner to genocide in Africa and crimes against humanity.”

On Monday, the head of Shaked’s Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, said the incitement against the justice minister “was everyone’s problem.”

“You can take everything and celebrate now and earn another quarter of a political point and it’s okay, but that’s not the way,” he said at the Knesset.

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