Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
MK Israel Eichler (L) and PM Benjamin Netanyahu, with then-Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein looking on, June 17, 2015.

While Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were the scenes of violent clashes between thousands of Arab rioters and Israeli security forces, and the fields and forests of the Gaza Envelope settlements in southern Israel were set ablaze by Arab-launched incendiary balloons, on Sunday, two United Torah Judaism senior officials sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to vacate his seat.

And on Monday, Netanyahu’s biggest supporter on the right, Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, tweeted angrily, in response to the attempted lynching of a Jewish motorist in Jerusalem by an Arab mob (Policeman Saves Jewish Driver from Arab Lynching):

“Such a terrible lynching that takes place in broad daylight in Jerusalem is the result of a tactical and strategic failure. Strategically, there has been a failure of Netanyahu for many, many years in enforcing Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem. The raising of the head of the Arab enemy in the capital did not begin in a single day. It’s a rolling event that gets worse every year. 100% Netanyahu’s failure.
“A policy of zero enforcement and zero deterrence in the face of overt activity by Erdogan and the PA and a host of other enemies. And in the face of the rising terrorism and violence, the response has almost always been surrender and folding.
The tactical failures of the police have allowed more and more such incidents in recent days. Until now it always ended miraculously without great losses. Thank God, who takes over where we fail.”

Haredi MKs’ letter calling on Netanyahu to temporarily vacate his post. / Screenshot

Back to the two Haredi officials, MK Israel Eichler and Deputy Minister Meir Porush wrote Netanyahu the following:

“In light of your request of the Haredi parties to continue the formation of the Likud, religious, and Zionist as one block – as you know, over the past two years, and four election rounds, the Haredi and religious factions supported the block led by the Likud, to establish a solid right-wing government based on our values and tradition, without success, unfortunately.
“Your request to maintain today as well a Likud-religious-Haredi bloc is completely understandable, in order not to collaborate with the establishment of a center-left government.
“At the same time, we have no desire to reach a fifth election which may result in the defeat of the right-wing and Haredi parties.
“Therefore, we must forge a united effort of the traditional bloc parties to establish a right-wing government, to prevent new elections, not to seek them. The only way to prevent a left-wing government while preventing new elections would be a clear statement from you before a left-wing government is established, that you would award the post of prime minister for a year and a half in a rotation, to a member of the right-wing bloc who would succeed in uniting the 65 right-wing MKs. You will be the alternative prime minister during this period and could lead the political efforts regarding the Biden administration, the peace process, and the Iranian nuclear power.”

The Haredi MKs letter is the first open expression of no confidence in Netanyahu’s ability to lead. Clearly, their proposal is much less blunt than those issued, reportedly, by Netanyahu’s own senior party members, such as Nir Barkat, Yuli Edelstein, and Israel Katz.

On Monday, MK Smotrich called on Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana, Police Commissioner Major General Kobi Shabtai, and Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman to resign over their incompetence in preventing the rampant Muslim violence.

“If you are not able to fulfill your mission—provide security and allow a normal life for the residents of Jerusalem—give back the keys and give your betters a chance to try,” Smotrich said.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir joined in condemning the decision to ban Jews from the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Liberation Day, and attacked Netanyahu directly, saying, “He who folds on the Temple Mount folds from all the land of Israel. I have no reason to vote this week with anyone who decides to fold.”

The Sovereignty Movement, which is not an elected body but presumably represents the common view of religious Zionist voters, called indirectly on Netanyahu to come to his senses and demonstrate initiative, responsibility, and sovereignty in Jerusalem and the entire Land. The movement’s two leaders, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover stated that “Israeli Arabs take advantage of the weakness of the Israeli leadership to perpetrate unprecedented and brazen terrorism in the heart of the State of Israel and on Jerusalem Day.”

They added that “the decision to close the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors is a serious strategic mistake. Every Israeli withdrawal brings about another round of rioters and terrorists.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday responded to the attacks on him from his right during the state memorial ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel:

“A struggle is now being waged for the heart of Jerusalem. It is not a new struggle. It is the struggle between intolerance and tolerance, between law-breaking violence and law and order. This struggle is not new because it has been waged, in effect, over Jerusalem and the heart of Jerusalem for hundreds of years, since the rise of the three monotheistic faiths.
“Sometimes one side was in control and excluded the other two and sometimes they traded places and the same thing happened. It could be said that in the long history of Jerusalem, only under Israeli sovereignty since 1967, have we witnessed a prolonged, stable and safe period in which we have been working to ensure freedom of worship and tolerance for all.
“This is not a mission that we can carry out without conflict from time to time with those same forces of intolerance that want to expropriate our rights – first of all, our rights, but not just ours – on the Temple Mount and other holy sites.
“We insist on ensuring the rights of everyone, this occasionally requires taking a strong stand as the officers of the Israel Police, and our security forces, are doing at the moment. We back them in this just struggle. Of course, these things are being expressed erroneously and misleadingly in the global media. In the end, the truth will win but we must constantly reiterate it.”

And with that speech, the PM proved once again that he is a gifted orator.


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