Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a tree-planting ceremony on Monday to mark Tu Bishvat in the Neve Ya’akov neighborhood of Jerusalem, where an Arab terrorist killed seven people last month.
Netanyahu was joined by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and family members of the murder victims, as well as police officers, medics and paramedics who treated the wounded at the scene of the Jan. 27 attack. The following day, another Arab terrorist shot and seriously wounded an Israeli father and son near the entrance to the City of David National Park adjacent to the Old City in the Israeli capital.
“Dear bereaved families, I know the pain that you are going through, our heart is with you, the heart of the entire people. This tree is the tree of life. They come to sow death and we plant life. Several days ago, they murdered seven of our loved ones and here we are, a few days later, deepening our roots in our land,” said Netanyahu on Monday.
“We know that the proper response to terrorism is to strike at it and to deepen our roots in the soil of our homeland. We are striking at terrorism. A day later, a murderous band tried to carry out another murder at a restaurant at Almog Junction, to murder dozens of Israeli citizens and—miraculously—they failed. Today, IDF soldiers, together with the ISA [Shin Bet], have eliminated five of these terrorists, two of whom tried to carry out the attack at Almog Junction,” added the prime minister.
Netanyahu was referring to an operation overnight Sunday by Israeli security forces in which they arrested the terrorist cell responsible for an attempted mass shooting at a restaurant near Jericho.
On Jan. 28, two men armed with an assault rifle and bulletproof vests approached the Me Casa Restaurant near the Israeli town of Vered Yericho, but managed to fire only a single shot before their weapon jammed, the IDF said.
Nobody was injured in the attack.
Israeli forces came under fire during the arrest raid on Sunday in Aqbat Jaber, a refugee camp just south of Jericho, and returned fire, killing several gunmen.
“The proper response to terrorism is to fight it and to plant deep roots in our homeland. This is what we are doing today here in Neve Ya’akov. This is what we are doing throughout the country. We will not stop planting but will continue apace,” said Netanyahu.
“I embrace you, dear families. We will overcome together. The memory of your loved ones will always be with you, forever, and with us as well; however, the proper response for the State of Israel is to deepen the attachment of the people of Israel here in our land,” added the Israeli premier.