Netanyahu, Ya’alon warn Jewish Home against provocative criticism

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon appeared to take aim at Jewish Home ministers over criticism of their handling of the security situation.

In response to the intensified violence during the last week, which has left four Israelis dead, Netanyahu called a meeting on Monday of the security cabinet and ordered a number of measures, including the demolition of terrorists’ homes as a deterrent and increased military deployment. However, the government has been criticised by some right-wing leaders, including those from Jewish Home for not doing enough to combat the violence. A large demonstration expressing such sentiments on Monday night was attended by three Likud ministers.

Channel Two reports that during Monday’s security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told Jewish Home leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the party’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that he would not tolerate the kind of criticism that Bennett levelled at him during last summer’s Gaza conflict.  Netanyahu reportedly said, “Decide if you want to be leaders or little politicians” and threatened to change the coalition’s composition.

Yesterday, Netanyahu visited the site in the West Bank where an Israeli couple were shot dead in front of their children last Thursday while driving. In a thinly-veiled reference to Bennett and Shaked’s suggestion that the IDF is being restricted, Netanyahu said, “There is no question at all of [IDF] support … Generous support is being given, and everyone knows it. That is, everyone except those who say the opposite, and I think even they know it.”

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon also took aim at critics among the settler community in the West Bank and critical government ministers. He called on West Bank “local council heads [to] stop hyperventilating,” saying that their insistence that the government is not doing enough to combat terror “cause citizens to take the law into their hands. This is an unacceptable phenomenon … and adds fuel to the fire.” Ya’alon added that, “Ministers must remember that the government has collective responsibility.”

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