update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

Netanyahu warns Israel’s enemies amid unrest at home

Israel's internal debate will not detract one iota from our determination and ability to act against our enemies, the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, April 2, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, April 2, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to the enemies of the Jewish state at the start of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem amid ongoing demonstrations over his government’s judicial reform plan.

“We are exacting a high price from the regimes that support terrorism, beyond Israel’s borders. I suggest that our enemies not err. Israel’s internal debate will not detract one iota from our determination, strength and ability to act against our enemies on all fronts, wherever and whenever necessary,” Netanyahu said.

The remarks come after three missile strikes against Iranian targets in Syria over a four-day period attributed to Israel, including early Sunday in Homs Province. Iranian media reported that Friday’s attack near Damascus killed an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member and it was reported on Sunday that another IRGC member died from wounds sustained during Friday’s strike.

Netanyahu also discussed domestic counterterrorism efforts, giving his full support to the Israel Police for an incident early Saturday in which a 26-year-old Bedouin man from southern Israel was killed by police after authorities said he snatched an officer’s gun at the Chain Gate entrance to the Temple Mount and managed to fire two bullets.

Palestinian witnesses gave a different account, saying that Mohammed Khaled Alasibi was trying to intervene in an argument between police and a woman.

No security cameras caught the incident, police said.

Israeli Arabs across the country launched a general strike on Sunday in protest against the killing.

The prime minister also offered well wishes to the three soldiers wounded on Saturday night in a car-ramming attack near the village of Beit Ummar, located northwest of Hebron in Judea.

It was also revealed on Sunday that the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) preempted a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

The prime minister touched upon the debate over judicial reform after Saturday night’s mass demonstrations against the proposed legislation in Tel Aviv and across the country—the 13th consecutive week of protests. President Isaac Herzog is holding meetings with Knesset factions to try to hammer out a compromise after Netanyahu announced a pause in the legislative process.

“We are currently in a process of dialogue with the goal of reaching broad consensus. I would like to remind you all that before the elections many of the current opposition leaders supported substantive changes in the judicial system. Therefore, there is a basis here for agreements which should be possible to reach with goodwill in genuine dialogue,” Netanyahu said.

He congratulated new Cabinet member David Amsalem, who was present at the meeting. Amsalem resigned his seat in the Knesset according to the so-called Norwegian Law to take up his role as a second minister in the Justice Ministry, as well as regional cooperation minister and liaison between the government and Knesset.

Avichai Boaron, chairman of the Zion and Jerusalem Forum Likud and next on the party’s Knesset candidates list, replaces Amsalem in the legislature.

Netanyahu also announced the establishment of the Women’s Status Ministry that Likud Knesset member May Golan has been tapped to lead.

The prime minister offered Passover greetings ahead of the holiday beginning on Wednesday evening.

“This week, the people of Israel will gather around the seder table. I would like to remind you all that for centuries on Passover we always remembered that we have a common past of thousands of years as well as a common future expressed in the prayer for next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem. Now, in the rebuilt Jerusalem, we will still remember that we have a glorious past and a bright future—together,” Netanyahu said.

“I wish the entire people of Israel a happy, kosher and quiet Passover,” the prime minister said.

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