Terror in Kiryat Arba: What do our political party leaders say about murdered and injured Jews?
Coming out of Shabbat last night, we were greeted by news of a shooting attack that took place in a neighbourhood near a security gate between Kiryat Arba and Hebron that had, until last May, been closed to Palestinians since the second intifada. MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzmah Yehudit) lives in the neighbourhood and was initially claimed to be the target of the attack; this was subsequently dismissed
The exact location of the attack is not being clearly reported but a Kiryat Arba resident told me that it happened at a Palestinian-owned shop frequented by both Jews and Arabs. A 50-year-old man was killed, his 19-year-old son injured, another man lightly injured. According to my friend, the 50-year-old paramedic who rushed to help the wounded was shot after the terrorist doubled back, now on foot, and attacked the first responders. The paramedic is in critical but stable condition at the point of this writing. A 37-year-old Palestinian working at the shop was also injured and was taken to hospital in the PA.
A local civilian security officer from Kiryat Arba rammed the shooter with his car and an off-duty soldier shot him dead.
The terrorist was a Hebron resident, a member of Aswad al-Haq, a part of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades. Of course, we know the typical response in the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Jew-killing:
And what of our political leaders? How have the leaders of Israel’s political parties responded as of this writing?
We are going to the polls on 1 November, a mere two days from now and I would just like to present to you the first responses offered by those who are vying for our votes. No editorial comments are added here, but if you are interested, you can click on the posts below and read the comments readers leave. I am adding my English translation for each of the Facebook or Twitter posts. (The leaders are listed in order of decreasing electoral strength according to current polls.) If you find that I neglected to include someone who actually did make a comment, I would appreciate knowing that so I can correct the oversight.
Leader of the opposition, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) writes: “Our hearts are breaking” under a photo that announces that a man was murdered and four people injured in a shooting attack by Kiryat Arba.
Just after this, he posted on Twitter:
מתפלל לשלום הפצועים בפיגוע בקריית ארבע ומחזק את כוחות הביטחון שפועלים בשטח. רק יד קשה מנצחת את הטרור.
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) October 29, 2022
Praying for the injured in the terrorist attack in Kirayt Arba and support the security forces that acted in the field. Only a strong hand will beat terror.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid):
“Praying along with all citizens of Israel for the wounded in the Kiryat Arba terror attack. Supporting the security forces who neutralized the terrorist and who continue their operational activities at the scene. This evening, there will be increased forces in the area. Terrorism will not beat us. We will act decisively against terrorists and those who send them.”
The Religious Zionism/Otzmah Yehudit bloc is polling next. MK Bezalel Smotrich, leader of Religous Zionism writes:
“The loss of security continues with the painful terror attack at Givat Ha’avot [name of the neighbourhood]. I wish to strengthen the residents of Kiryat Arba-Hebron. And I hope for a full recovery for those wounded in the attack. We are all praying for them.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity list, has no Facebook page. The National Unity list does, but it did not post anything about the Kiryat Arba terror attack. Gantz did, however, post on his person Twitter account:
אני מבקש להביע צער עמוק על הירצחו של אזרח ישראלי הערב בפיגוע במרחב חברון. אני שולח איחולי החלמה מהירה לפצועים.
קיימתי לפני דקות אחדות הערכת מצב בהשתתפות הרמטכ”ל וראש השב”כ, והנחיתי לגבש שורה של צעדים מבצעיים. צה”ל וכוחות הביטחון ישימו את ידיהם על כל מי שהיה מעורב בפיגוע.
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) October 29, 2022
“I wish to express my deep sadness for the murder of an Israeli citizen this evening in a terror attack in the Hebron region. I send my wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded.
A few moments ago, I conducted an assessment of the situation with the Chief of Staff and head of the Shabak, and I ordered the formulation of a number of operational steps. The IDF and security forces will capture all those who were involved in the attack.”
Shas leader, MK Arye Deri, put nothing on his Facebook page, but he posted on Twitter.
דם יהודי אינו הפקר. הלב נקרע על הבשורה
המרה בהירצחו הי״ד של יהודי נוסף בארצו, בפיגוע ירי הערב בקריית ארבע בידי מחבל בן עוולה. אני שולח תנחומים למשפחתו תחי׳.
רק ממשלת ימין שנקים בעזרת השם תוביל יד קשה ותגדע את הטרור, ממשלה הנשענת על התנועה האיסלמית אינה מסוגלת לנצח את הטרור
— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) October 29, 2022
Deri wrote: “Jewish blood is not expendable. The heart breaks with the bitter news of the murder of another Jew (May God avenge his blood) in our land, in the shooting attack this evening in Kiryat Arba by the evil terrorist. I send my condolences to his family. Only a right-wing government that we will establish with the help of God will lead to a strong hand and will cut down the terror, a government relying on the Islamist Movement cannot beat terror.”
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) does not have a Facebook page. He has a Twitter account, but posted nothing about the Kiryat Arba terror attack. Likewise, there was nothing posted on either UTJ’s Facebook page or Twitter account.
MK Avigdor Liberman, leader of Yisrael Beitenu, posted on Twitter:
פיגוע קשה בקרית ארבע.
אני שולח תנחומים מקרב ליבי למשפחת הנרצח ואיחולי החלמה מהירה לפצועים. אני מחזק את ידיו של איש הביטחון האזרחי באזור שגילה עירנות ופעל בנחישות ובכך הציל חיי אדם רבים. נמשיך להילחם בטרור ביד קשה בכל האמצעים הנדרשים ובכל הזירות והחזיתות.
— אביגדור ליברמן (@AvigdorLiberman) October 29, 2022
“A difficult terror attack in Kiryat Arba. I send wishes from the bottom of my heart to the families of the murder victim and wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. I congratulate the local civilian security officer who demonstrated vigilance and acted decisively, thereby saving the lives of many. We will continue to vigourously fight terror with all necessary means and in every place and on every front.”
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, leader of the Labour Party writes on both Facebook and Twitter: “Giving strength to the family of the man murdered in the shooting attack earlier today in Kiryat Arba in the horrid and disgusting act of terror. We will fight from every front and with all our strength.”
Meretz leader, Zehava Gal-on, posted nothing about the terrorist attack on Facebook or Twitter. Likewise, the Meretz party Facebook page and Twitter account remain silent on this.
Hadash leader Ayman Odeh and Ta’al leader Ahmad Tibi posted nothing about the terror attack in Kiryat Arba. I was unable to find anything published by their parties either. The same goes for leader of Ra’am, Mansour Abbas.
On Twitter, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (formerly Yamina, now Habayit Hayehudi – The Jewish Home) wrote:
מבקשת לחזק הערב את תושבי חברון, שולחת תנחומים למשפחת הנרצח ומחבקת את משפחות הפצועים. פיגוע כואב שמזכיר לנו בצורה הנוראית ביותר את האומץ של המתיישבים הגיבורים ששומרים על כולנו.
— איילת שקד Ayelet Shaked (@Ayelet__Shaked) October 29, 2022
This evening I want to express my support for the residents of Hebron, sending my condolences to the family of the murder victim and my hugs to the families of the wounded. The painful terror attack reminds us, in the most horrible of ways, of the courage of the residents, heroes who stand on guard for all of us.
Balad leader, MK Sami abou Shehadeh had nothing to say.
Likewise, there was silence on this topic from Yaron Zalika of the New Economics Party, Abir Kara of the Economic Freedom Party and Hadar Muchtar of the Burning Youth Party.
Sorry, I couldn’t help it
I did not intend to editorialize here but I just cannot help it. Leaders who have no response to this terror act must either support it (you can probably name them quite easily), perhaps feeling that we deserve it because of “the occupation,” or are so preoccupied with their unidimensional platforms that they are oblivious to other important events in the country. Given that elected representatives work in Knesset committees that may deal with issues beyond their single issue of interest, it makes one wonder how they would cope with having to expand their horizons. But, these people probably have little chance of getting into the 24th Knesset in any case. May I suggest that if they still envision themselves serving as legislators in the future that they take the next four years to educate themselves more broadly?
What do you think of the responses of those who will take their seats in the 24th Knesset? I find nothing illuminating in what they say. I think we could easily mix-and-match and put any of the names to any of the responses and nobody would know the difference. Cookie-cutter comments after one man is dead and several injured in a place some Israelis feel we have no right to be should bring some deeper reflection and more meaningful remarks. But maybe that’s just me.
Didn’t Ben Gvir respond?
He only responded at first when it was believed that his house was under attack. His family was home but he was not. He didn’t say anything after it was clear he was not being targeted.