“Omer Barlev must take care of himself,” suggested Otzma Yehudit Chairman MK Ben Gvir who is a major contender for Barlev’s job as Internal Security Minister in the next government. “After the elections, when he will be watching the Knesset on his living room TV after even the Labor party voters have realized he is a failure and sent him to the bottom of the list, then he will have time to contemplate how he had created such a distorted perception for himself that led to one of the worst periods for the security of the State of Israel.”
Read: Arabs and Jews Clash in Jerusalem, Ben Gvir Draws Gun, Barlev Denies Hamas Incitement
Ben Gvir was responding to a Sunday morning interview with Internal Security Minister Barlev on Army radio. The host made the point that “over the weekend, following the events in Sheikh Jarrah (a.k.a. Shimon HaTzadik), with the arrival of MK Itamar Ben Gvir on the ground and his famous picture with the gun which everyone thought would escalate things – it actually brought about a de-escalation. With that in mind, wasn’t your criticism of MK Ben Gvir a tad exaggerated?”
Barlev would have none of that. “I’m sorry, but the opposite is true,” he responded. “We mustn’t be confused. The most severe events were Wednesday night. The event with Ben Gvir took place the next day, and he inflamed, in addition, not only the attacks of Arabs on Jews but also of Jews on Arabs. We’ve all seen the short video clip of Jewish youths attacking a very elderly Arab. Unfortunately, this is part of his election campaign, to increase … how should I call it … the opposite of a good neighborly relationship. Especially in Sheikh Jarrah, where Jewish and Palestinian families cohabitate, it’s in our interest to seek a good neighborly relationship. On a tense night, as soon as Itamar Ben Gvir arrives there and draws a gun, he gets the opposite result.”
“Do you associate the Jewish attacks on Arabs in that area with the arrival of MK Ben Gvir?” asked the host.
“As far as the facts go – these are the facts. He showed up that night and Arabs threw stones at Jews and Jews threw stones at Arabs, and it turned into a religious thing of Jews against Arabs and Arabs against Jews. This is why on that night, police detained Arab rioters as well as Jewish rioters. We are responsible for our own part, why not restrain ourselves and leave it up to the Israel Police to act against the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem who are rioting and more than once trying to kill Israelis?”
Could it be because the Israel Police haven’t been very good at preventing the Arab rioters from attacking their Jewish neighbors?
“Do you see the fact that he drew his gun while being surrounded by police as an insult to the police?” asked the host.
“It’s not an insult, it’s simply an inconceivable action, with no excuse, there was no risk to life and it’s all part of his election campaign,” the minister responded.
Barlev ignored the host’s point about the relentless attacks of Arabs against Jews in Shimon HaTzadik (a.k.a. Sheikh Jarrah) and noted that one Jewish resident’s car was set on fire 11 different times. She, like us, wondered if the police are simply not doing enough to secure Jewish lives in the neighborhood, but Barlev continued to blame it on Ben Gvir.
“Omer Barlev must be living in an alternate reality,” Ben Gvir said Sunday. “From one day to the next, the scale of the attacks is increasing dramatically, terrorism is rising under his tenure as Internal Security Minister in an unprecedented way, and the problem according to him is that I drew a gun in self-defense against dozens of terrorists who threw stones at me, in front of police officers whose hands were tied and were not allowed to respond.”
Ben Gvir Concluded: “Our first task after we win the election with God’s help, will be to repair the enormous damage left by Barlev and this failed government, and restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
I say, go for it.