Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Israelis in a statement Tuesday of a Palestinian Authority Arab “terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem” and of “hatred and incitement” perpetrated by the PA leadership against Israel.
In an unusually long and particularly intense statement, the prime minister exhorted Israelis to put aside their differences and to unite around defending Israel’s capital, Jerusalem and to defend the security of Israel’s citizens.
Netanyahu also issued a clear warning to Israelis not to take the law into their own hands, and reaffirmed his commitment to keep Jerusalem united.
“Today, during morning prayers, as they were wrapped in prayer shawls and tefillin, four rabbis were slaughtered, four innocent and pure Jews – Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Rabbi Moshe Twersky. May their memories be blessed.
“We send our condolences to their families. We send our best wishes for a recovery to the wounded and to the heroic policemen whose action prevented a greater disaster. The human animals who perpetrated this slaughter were full of hatred and incitement, deep hatred and terrible incitement against the Jewish People and its state.
“Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority are disseminating countless lies and falsehoods against the State of Israel. They are saying that the Jews are contaminating the Temple Mount. They are saying that we are planning to destroy the Holy Places, that we intend to change the order of prayer there – this is all lies.
“These lies have already claimed a very heavy price. They took the life of a three-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, who had been taken for her first visit to the Western Wall, along with her parents, who wanted to thank G-d for giving them a baby. They also claimed the lives of Karen Jemima Mosquera, Jidan Assad, Aharon Badani, Sgt. Almog Shilony and Dalia Lemkus. All of them were pure souls. All of them were victims of this mendacious incitement. Today they are joined by additional victims of the same wild blood libel of the kind that is etched in the memory of our people.
“Yesterday a bus driver from eastern Jerusalem committed suicide. He committed suicide. The findings of the pathology report have been published and they prove this unequivocally. He committed suicide. But this has not prevented those same elements from inciting and disseminating the blood libel to the effect that he was murdered by Jews.
“This incitement contributed its part to the shocking slaughter that was perpetrated this morning in a holy place during prayers. But what is outrageous is not only the brutality of the murder but the shouts of joy in Gaza, in Bethlehem and in other places. They are giving out candies, waving axes in the air and praising the shahidim. (ed. – martrys)
“True, this time Abu Mazen (PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas) condemned the slaughter and it is good that he did. I remember that he also condemned the murder of the three youths but it is not enough because in the same sentence in which he condemned today’s slaughter, he linked it to imaginary actions – which have no basis in reality – that Israel is purportedly planning to carry out on the Temple Mount.
“There is daily, even hourly, incitement on the streets of the Palestinian Authority. There, not only do the most reprehensible murderers become the heroes of Palestinian culture, but there is unending, constant incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel, against the security of Israel’s citizens, in schools, the media, mosques, everywhere, and this is the root of the conflict: The refusal to recognize – and educate for – the existence of the state of the Jews.