Israeli Officials From Across the Spectrum Condemn Murder of Arab Teen
Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum expressed outrage and disgust over the slaying, allegedly by Jewish extremists, of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir on July 2.
Israeli security forces announced on Sunday that they had arrested six Israelis in connection to the killing. The motive appears to have been revenge for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens last month, allegedly by terror group Hamas.
On Sunday, after the arrests were announced, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said: “The Jerusalem District of the Israel Police and the Shabak have arrested several youths on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. I would like to thank all those involved in the work, who, since the event, have devoted maximum efforts to uncovering and arresting the perpetrators.”
“The State of Israel is a country that abides by, and enforces, the law, and will continue to take determined action against all those who violate the law. I ask that everyone show responsibility and work to prevent further disturbances. This was a shocking and unacceptable act which any sane person, certainly in a strong and democratic country such as the State of Israel, must strongly condemn.”
While visiting the home of Naftali Frankel, one of the three murdered teens, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I am visiting today with my family, the families of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists. I promised their dear families that we will continue to stand by them, even after the days of mourning.”
After referencing Israel’s ongoing operations against Hamas, Netanyahu said: “I would like to send my condolences to the Abu Khdeir family. I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime, which must be resolutely condemned in the most forceful language. I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime will face the full weight of the law. I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And that’s the difference between us and our neighbors.”
“They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison. And that’s not the only difference. While we put these murderers on trial, in the Palestinian Authority, there is continuous incitement for the destruction of the State of Israel. It’s a staple of the official media and the educational system. This is an asymmetrical conflict. We do not seek their destruction; they teach a very broad segment of their society to seek our destruction. And that must end. There is too much suffering. There is too much pain. We do not differentiate between the terrorists and we will respond to all of them, wherever they come from, with a firm hand. We will not allow extremists from wherever they come to ignite the region and shed more blood.”
On Monday, Netanyahu spoke with Hussein Abu Khdeir, Muhammad’s father.
“I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son. We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers,” Netanyahu said. “We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior; the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being.”
In response to the murder, President Shimon Peres said on Monday, “If a Jew kills they will be put to the court like any other criminal, there is no privilege, the law is equal to all and all are equal before the law. On that there is no compromise. We do not distinguish between blood and blood.”
“The murder of a child is reprehensible, regardless of the religion or nationality of the child. It is our responsibility to secure life and to punish those who take it away from others,” he added. “We’re a nation that is not looking for war; peace remains our strategic, historic and moral preference. Israel is a proud democracy and decisions are taken by the majority through ballots, not by the minority with bullets.”
President Peres called for an end to incitement and violence: “We must stop the incitement, it’s time to be respectful and to respect the law. It’s in our hands. We know where words can lead, to more sorrow, to more danger. It’s time for all of us to show restraint, to show understanding and let us as human beings, all of us, be true to our morality and to our hope of living together in peace.”
One Israeli group called on the government to destroy the homes of the killers, as it has done in the past with Arab terrorists. The Legal Forum for Israel called on the government to treat the murderers as harshly as it does Arab terrorists.
Famed Samaria Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh said he believes the killers deserve the death penalty.
“We must eradicate this evil form within us. The Jewish law is not forgiving when it relates to a vicious murder,” Levanon said. “The court can sentence someone to death today if he has committed a public offense. The State of Israel and its executing arm the IDF, are responsible for the war on terror.”
Knesset Member Miri Regev (Likud) condemned the attack as well as the Arab population’s response. “I condemn murder and violence from any side; Jews and Arabs alike; murder is murder,” she said. “We must condemn this, and allow the police to conclude this affair.”
“This said, the Arab’s rioting has no place. When three of our boys were murdered we did not riot like this,” Regev added. “They are working against the law and we must act with force against them, as we did with the terrorists. Israeli Arabs working against the state should be punished. I am currently working to formulate a law that will revoke Israeli citizenship and the rights to social security from those convicted of terrorism and incitement.”