Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg / Flash 90
Ayelet Shaked in a press conference in Ramat Gan, July 21, 2019.

Reactions to the murder of four Israelis and wounding of a fifth on Tuesday in Be’er Sheva by a Negev Bedouin terrorist were swift and harsh, including a statement from the US State Department.

“The United States strongly condemns the abhorrent terrorist attack today in Beersheba, Israel, which killed four people and injured others,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during his daily briefing with reporters in Washington.


4 Israelis Dead, 1 Clings to Life After Ram-and-Stab Terror Attack in Be’er Sheva

In Israel, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was among the first to offer her condolences to the families of the victims, saying “A vile and subhuman terrorist murdered innocent people.”

Shaked also praised the two civilian men who shot and neutralized the terrorist, adding they should be recognized for their brave actions.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed condolences to the families of the victims and praise for those who neutralized the attacker.

“I send my deepest condolences to the families of those who were murdered in the heinous terrorist attack in Be’er Sheva and am praying for the well-being of those who were wounded.

“I have just held an assessment of the situation and a consultation with the Public Security Minister and the Israel Police Inspector General pursuant to the attack,” he said. “The civilians who shot the terrorist showed resourcefulness and bravery and prevented additional loss of life.

“The security forces are on maximum alert. We will take strong action against terrorists. We will also pursue and apprehend those who aided and abetted them,” Bennett promised.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz likewise pledged the IDF and security forces will “use all means” to prevent such attacks “as much as possible,” adding the defense establishment is on high alert in all sectors. Gantz vowed to “make sure that whoever encourages the recent attacks or supports them will pay a price.”

President Isaac Herzog likewise expressed pain over the attack, saying, “The heart is torn and hurts, as innocent souls pay the bloody price of hostility and hatred. Terrorism will not overwhelm us or undermine our right to exist in our country,” he emphasized.

Religious Zionist party leader Bezalel Smotrich warned that “nationalist extremism among Israeli Arabs is a ticking time bomb.” He called for a “heavy hand” and “zero displays of ‘understanding’ and zero tolerance” in dealing with such attacks, vowing to “do everything to restore governance and personal security to the citizens of Israel.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also expressed condolences to the victims’ families, adding that “anyone who tries to harm innocent civilians should know that the State of Israel will lay its hands on him and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.”

Former prime minister and current Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu urged “immediate action” in identifying and arresting all those responsible for the attack. He urged Bennett and Lapid to “ignore any political considerations and immediately ensure the capture of the terrorists and restoration of security for the residents of Be’er Sheva and the south.”

The Regavim nonprofit watchdog organization said in a bitterly-worded statement, “Once again, the loss of governance in the Negev has taken an intolerable toll in human life.”

The organization pointed out that “for years,” its NGO “has been sounding the alarm and calling out the loss of governance in the Negev. We have warned, again and again, that the void of governance in the Negev is an open invitation to extremism and radicalization of the Bedouin sector that will result in bloodshed. Today, our worst fears were realized, and blood has been spilled on the streets of Be’er Sheva,” Regavim added.

Israeli security forces were placed on high alert in response to the attack.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.