Copyright: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Thursday, 8 October), issued the following statement at a press conference with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Israel Police Acting Commissioner Bentzi Sau:
"This has been another difficult day for all of us, citizens of Israel. We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism. Terrorists that have been incited and who are riven with hate are trying to attack our people - babies, children, men and women, civilians and soldiers. Our hearts - the hearts of the entire nation - are with the families of the victims whose lives were cut short by reprehensible murderers. In recent days and hours I have seen displays of heroism by soldiers, police and - no less - by civilians. I see this in Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat, Hebron, Petah Tikva, Tel Aviv and now in Afula. Israelis are acting with bravery, composure and determination to neutralize and eliminate the terrorists. This requires extraordinary courage and resourcefulness and we are proud to be part of a country that has such citizens.
This vicious terrorism did not start today. It has accompanied the Zionist enterprise since its beginning. We have always known how to defeat the rioters and build up our country and so it will be now. The terrorists and the extremists behind them will achieve nothing. We will rebuff them and we will defeat them.
We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism with knives, firebombs, rocks and even live fire. While these acts are mostly unorganized, they are all the result of wild and mendacious incitement by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, several countries in the region and - no less and frequently much more - the Islamic Movement in Israel, which is igniting the ground with lies regarding our policy on the Temple Mount and the purported changes that we want to make to the status quo. This is an absolute lie. We are also taking action against the inciters and the attackers.
The IDF, Israel Police and the ISA [Israel Security Agency] are working on all fronts - stakeouts, undercover, arrests, presence on the roads, guarding communities, operational entries into Palestinian towns, in-depth entries into neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem and the demolition of terrorists' homes.
We have also sharpened open-fire against those who throw rocks and firebombs and we will impose minimum sentences on them and fines against minors. We have detained for investigation those who cooperated with the murderers in the Old City of Jerusalem. I demanded that the legal establishment close the shops of the merchants who either took part in this heinous act or stood aside.
Yesterday, I ordered that politicians - Jewish and Arab alike - be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount at this time. We do not need more matches to set the ground afire. We will take aggressive measures against the Islamic Movement in Israel and against other inciters. Nobody will be immune.
I would like to tell you, citizens of Israel, that we live in the Middle East and that the flames of radical Islam, which are burning the entire region, are also reaching us. But Israel is a very strong country and Israelis are a strong people. The measures that I have detailed, as well as others which I will not detail, are not an immediate, magical solution. But with persistence, thoroughness and determination, we will prove that terrorism does not pay - and we will defeat it.
I was asked today what I would say to a mother who fears to send her children outside. I would like to tell her - I would like to tell you, mother - your concerns are natural. They need not be overlooked nor should they be swept under the rug. We have a difficult situation now and we must show maximum alertness. Of course, we must also listen to instructions from the security forces and the authorities. But I would like to tell you something else: The security team that is sitting here - Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Public Security Minister, IDF Chief-of-Staff and the Israel Police Commissioner, and all other security elements - are doing our utmost to restore your security and that of your children, to all Israel."