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The Jewish Press
» Tel Aviv
There are some things in this world that are hugely important when you are four years old, and no one can tell you different. Even the president of Israel.
President Reuven Rivlin encountered that situation when he visited the Hadas Kindergarten in central Tel Aviv on Sunday morning.
The visit was his first stop in Tel Aviv, preceding his trip to Ichilov Hospital to visit with those injured in Friday’s shooting attack at a café on Dizengoff Street, and their families.
The president sat with the preschoolers and read them the story of ‘Aaron and the Purple Crayon,’ by Crockett Johnson, “supervised” by their teacher, Keren, and educational staff.
But when the story ended, the children had their own questions for the president.
They wanted to know why Rivlin wanted to be President, and what did a President do? Why hadn’t he become a footballer?
Seeing as these were all very good questions, the President gave them very serious answers.
“I’m just not very good at it,” he said when explaining why he gave up football.
“I think it’s better that I am President because that way I have the opportunity to listen to all people in the country.
“I listen to all the citizens and the citizens with difficult jobs. I listen to mayors and ministers, principals and teachers, and I try to help with any problem and to resolve them.
“The President is primarily the mouth of all people, of all the public. When the President expresses his opinion he does so after hearing everyone’s voices. And you children – even if you don’t agree with what your friend says, first of all you need to listen and think – maybe what he is saying makes sense?
“It is important that we listen to everyone with dignity, and maybe we will learn something,” he told them.
The residents of a building on Recanati Street in north Tel Aviv filed a complaint with police on Friday after discovering an ISIS and Hamas flag on their rooftop, Ynet reported. Police are investigating the possibility that the flags may belong to Arab workers who are doing renovations in the building.
On Friday, an Israeli-Arab killed 2 people and wounded 8 more in Tel Aviv, and he has not yet been found. The city is on edge.
Schools opened Sunday morning amid tight security as security forces continued to hunt through Tel Aviv for a gunman who killed two people and wounded at least eight others at a cafe on Friday.
But it became clear after the first hour that parents of approximately half of the children were too frightened to send their children to school. Of 1600 preschool and kindergarten-age children, only 230 made it to class, and approximately half of all other students stayed home as well, according to the Hebrew-language Ynet site.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai reassured parents in a live interview on Galei Tzahal IDF Army Radio that parents who felt insecure about sending their children to school could keep them home.
“It’s okay for you to to keep your children home if you feel unsure,” Huldai said. But he also emphasized that the city had beefed up security around schools and other high-population areas in the wake of Friday’s shooting at a café on Dizengoff Street.
All schools and classes are open, including the preschools and kindergartens, and all school trips and activities are continuing as scheduled. The city raised its alert and added 24-hour patrols as security personnel continue their manhunt for the killer who murdered two and wounded eight others.
Nashat Milhem, 31, is from the northern Israeli Arab village of Ar’ara. He has already served time in an Israeli prison and is also known to be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder which makes him even more unpredictable. Milhem is still believed to be carrying the assault rifle he allegedly used in the attack on the café.
His family identified him from the video footage broadcast from the attack on media and immediately contacted law enforcement; his father made a public apology, saying, “I am sorry. I did not raise my son this way.”
Residents in the north Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Aviv reported seeing a man who fit Milhem’s description, drawing a large security force to the area.
Personnel from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet / Shabak) and special ops police units are continuing door-to-door searchers in apartment buildings and construction sites in and around Tel Aviv as they search for Milhem.
Following the Sabbath, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the site of the attack. He praised the statements of support from the Israeli Arab community and condemnations of the attack from Israeli Arab leaders. Netanyahu then turned his attention to Israeli Arab MKs and Islamist clerics who have been responsible for the mixed messages conveyed to the Israeli Arab public. Such messages have, to a great extent, contributed to the incitement that has whipped up the frenzy of hate driving some of the Israeli Arab teens who now are intent upon murdering their fellow Israelis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, visited the murder scene on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv where he was briefed on the progress of the investigation by – inter alia – Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israel Police Inspector General Roni Alsheich. The Prime Minister lit a memorial candle and spoke with one of the pub’s owners.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“Yesterday there was a heinous and unbelievably vicious murder here. Young people, whose entire lives were ahead of them, the ages of my own children, were innocently sitting celebrating a birthday and were murdered in cold blood. I would like to send heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were murdered and wishes for a complete and quick recovery to the wounded. We are praying for their well-being.
The Israel Police and ISA are working around the clock to apprehend the murderer. I just received a comprehensive briefing on their operations. They, the security forces of the State of Israel, are working to the best of their abilities. The photograph of the murderer has been published; additional photographs of him will also be published. We have reinforced our units in all relevant areas. I request that the public be on maximum alert.
I appreciate the condemnations of the crime that have been made by the Arab public. I must say that I expect all Arab MKs, all of them without exception, to clearly condemn the murder without hesitation. Murder is murder, and must be condemned and acted against from whatever quarter.
Among Israel’s Muslim citizens there are many elements that have come out against the violence and wish for full law enforcement in their communities. However, we all know that there is wild radical Islamic incitement against the State of Israel in the Arab sector. There is incitement in mosques, in the educational system and in social media. We are taking strong action against this incitement just as we did when we outlawed the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and the Mourabitoun. I am not prepared to accept two States of Israel, a state of law for most of its citizens and a state within a state for some of them, in enclaves in which there is no law enforcement and in which there is Islamist incitement, rampant crime and illegal weapons that are frequently fired at events such as weddings. This era has ended.
I have formulated a plan, along with the Public Security Minister and the Israel Police Inspector General, a plan with a lot of money and resources. We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector. Israel will enforce the law and its sovereignty in all parts of the country – in the Galilee, the Negev and the Triangle, everywhere. We will build new police stations, recruit more police and go into all communities and demand from all of them loyalty to the laws of the state. One cannot say ‘I am an Israeli in rights and a Palestinian in obligations.’ Whoever wants to be Israeli should be an Israeli all the way, both in rights and in obligations, and the first and highest obligation is to obey the laws of the state.
I view positively the increasing involvement in the IDF, in civilian service and in the overall life of the state, of the Christian, Druze and northern Bedouin communities, and within the Muslim community as well. I call on all citizens of Israel, especially its Muslim citizens, to take the path of integration, coexistence and peace and not the path of incitement, hatred and fanaticism. We are all citizens of the state and are all bound to maintain it and uphold its laws.
Two people were killed and eight wounded in a Friday shooting incident near a pub at 124 Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Among the injured, four are in serious condition and three medium. Hundreds of police have been sent to the area, including special forces, the Shabak and SWAT, and are conducting a manhunt after the shooter who fled the scene in north Tel Aviv. Police Commissioner General Ronnie Alshiech is on the scene. The wounded were evacuated to Ichilov Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Wolfson and Beilinson.
The terrorist fired his submachine gun at the pub and from there continued running toward a nearby restaurant, where he replaced his cartridges. According to various reports, the shooter was holed up at the corner of Reines and Remez Streets.
As of the beginning of Shabbat in Israel, Police are not yet clear regarding the identity of the shooter.