(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai sparked outrage through his response to Wednesday’s fatal terrorist shooting at the Sarona market, in which he implied that he understands the terrorists’ motives.
“We might be the only country where one people is under occupation by another without having civil rights, and the leaders say it’s so we can reach a [peace] deal,” Huldai told Army Radio.
“On one hand, we’re 49 years into the occupation, and I was part of it. (Huldai is a retired brigadier general who served as an Israeli Air Force pilot for 26 years.) I know the reality and I know that courageous leaders need to aspire to do things, not just talk. The fact that we accept this suffering isn’t leading to any change in our understanding about what we need to do,” Huldai said.
The mayor added that “you can’t hold people to a reality in which you conquer them and think that they'll reach the conclusion that everything is all right and they can go on living that way.”
In response to Huldai’s controversial remarks, Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said, “We don’t need Huldai to lecture us on morality and his desire for peace or the peace process. He should aim his criticism at the other side, which sends animals to murder innocent Israelis. The things he said, which could be interpreted as meaning there is a need for a mega-terrorist attack to start the peace process, are nonsense that should be condemned as harshly as possible.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) said Huldai “is putting the blame on the occupation...or [the fact] that we haven’t reached a peace deal with the Arabs, so we’re suffering terrorism….It’s time for us, the [political] right, to tell the leftists: ‘You’re deluded.’”
Member of Knesset Nava Boker (Likud) said that “the blood still isn’t dry from the terrorist attack, and Huldai is already rushing to profit politically and tie the attack to the ‘occupation.’”