Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set out Wednesday to inspect the “hot spots” where Jews have been attacked by Arab terrorists over the past several days.
Netanyahu began with Rehov Asher Weiner, where 64-year-old Alexander Levlovitch lost his life in a rock attack by an Arab road terrorist on Sunday, the first night of the Jewish new year.
“Here, in the heart of Jerusalem in a traffic island in a central road someone took a rock and stood here on this island and threw it again and again at the windshield of passing cars of Jerusalem residents until he succeeded in killing someone. It wasn’t killing: it was murder.
“This one stone is one stone too many. We hereby declare war on stone throwers, immediately, and on their bottles and on various other perpetrators of mayhem.”
The prime minister then traveled together with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to a lookout at Metzudat Adumim, where they were briefed by Police Commissioner Benzi Sau, Jerusalem District Commander Moshe Edri and Jerusalem Border Guard Police Commander Yizhar Peled.
Netanyahu also stopped at an IDF outpost on Highway 443, where he was briefed by several other high-ranking security officials. There have been numerous terror attacks on this road, a main artery running between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv which once served as the sole highway between the two cities. The road was closed to Palestinian Authority Arab traffic for several years. It was reopened as one of the many “goodwill gestures” offered as another incentive to entice PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table with Israel.
“We’re changing our policy,” Netanyahu told journalists who accompanied the group. “The situation as it stands is not acceptable to us, and we intend to provide the tools for soldiers and police to act firmly and effectively against rock-throwers and those who hurl firebombs.
A stone does not distinguish between a vehicle damaged here and its driver killed when the vehicle is struck, and one that is hit on the other side of the “Green Line.”
“We are also going to make changes in the ‘open fire’ policy, in the rules of minimum penalties, minimum sentences that apply to pipe bombs and rock-throwing,” he added.
“In addition, we will increase heavy fines for minors and their families in order to raise deterrence,” the prime minister said. “The State of Israel does not accept such behavior, not only in the Jerusalem are but also in the Galilee and the Negev. We are changing our policy on rock throwing and firebombing nationwide.”
As regards the Temple Mount, Netanyahu underlined the government’s strong commitment to maintaining a “strict status quo” at the site.
“The status quo is constantly being disrupted by agitators, rioters who barricade the Temple Mount, harass worshipers – more to the point, Jewish visitors,” he said. “That too is not acceptable to us, and we are going to discuss that with Jordan, and not only with Jordan.”