Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a “strong, swift and precise” response to escalating terrorism targeting Israelis, including two vicious attacks that killed seven people and wounded five more in the previous 24 hours alone.
In his remarks opening an emergency meeting of Israel’s political-security cabinet on Saturday night, Netanyahu first sent “deepest condolences to the families of those who were murdered in this awful and despicable terrorist attack in our capital Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu noted that the “reprehensible attack” at the entrance to a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood came on International Holocaust Remembrance day. He thanked his “friend” US President Joe Biden, who called Netanyahu and expressed “outrage and condolences” over “this terrible murderous attack.”
Netanyahu also thanked the “many other leaders, including from Arab countries, for standing alongside Israel at this time” and said everyone is praying for the wellbeing of those who were wounded in the two attacks.”
The prime minister also commended the police officers and security force personnel for their “determined and swift action, and also the resourcefulness and heroism shown by ordinary civilians who took action against the terrorists and thereby saved lives.
“Our response will be strong, swift and precise,” Netanyahu vowed.
“Whoever tries to harm us – we will harm them and everyone who assists them,” he said, noting that security forces had already carried out widespread arrests of “those who support, assist and incite terrorism.”
Netanyahu added that forces were being deployed and units reinforced in various sectors. “We will seal and demolish terrorists’ homes in expedited processes in order to exact an additional price from those who support terrorism,” he said, adding that this process “already began yesterday and is continuing.”
The prime minister said he was also submitting to the Security Cabinet a recommendation to revoke the national insurance (Bituach Leumi) rights from families who support terrorism.
“This government will act against terrorism with vigor, determination and strength,” he said. “We will do so calmly and with resolve.
“While we are not seeking escalation, we are prepared for any scenario.”
Netanyahu urged Israeli citizens not to take the law into their own hands, saying, “We are not in the days of the underground. We have a sovereign state with an excellent military and security forces.
“Let them carry out their work.”
Earlier in the evening, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment in a classified security location together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet director Ronen Bar and additional security officials during which he was briefed on the details of the recent attacks and the intel activities conducted by Israel’s security forces.
Gallant instructed the defense establishment to assess a series of immediate actions to be taken against lone attackers and their enablers and families, and agreed with Halevi on the need to reinforce and support efforts by the Israel Police.
“I instructed Israel’s defense establishment to increase defensive activities, particularly in the Jerusalem area, and to increase preemptive operations against anyone planning attacks on our citizens,” Gallant said.
“I instructed our professional echelon and legal teams to assess a series of possible sanctions against terrorists and their families. We will not allow a situation in which an individual who receives the benefits awarded by the State of Israel, goes on to murder Israeli citizens, and then continues to remain a resident of the State.”