PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Special Knesset Session in Memory of Rehavam Ze'evi
Photo by Kobi Gideon, GPO     

This session in memory of Rehavam Ze’evi is being held amid a tide of terrorism and therefore my speech will be brief and dedicated to our ongoing battle against terrorism, the same terrorism which took Gandhi’s life 14 years ago. Unfortunately, this terrorism took a heavy toll in life and limb today as well. From here I send my condolences to the families and my best wishes for recovery to the injured.

An hour ago, I convened the Cabinet and top security officials and I will return to those discussions from here. Today we will advance further severe measures in our battle against those who stir up incitement and terrorism. They will be put into practice as quickly as possible. Israel will act against the murderers, against those attempting to murder innocent civilians and anyone assisting them. Not only that they will not enjoy their rights, we will make them pay a heavy price. Anyone who raises their hand to harm us – that hand will be cut off. We will use – and I do not hesitate to use all measures at our disposal to restore the quiet to Israel’s cities.

At the same time, many measures on the ground which have already been implemented will continue in response to the current tide of terrorism. I wish to say to the people of Israel: We are in a battle, this battle concerns all of us and we will face it together. We have withstood tides of terrorism in the past and we overcame them. They did not realize their goal of uprooting us from our land, of destroying our country. They will not realize it this time either. We are focused on our mission to fight against the murderers and inciters, and I am convinced that the actions we will take will make the other side realize that terrorism does not pay. The terrorists will pay a heavy price, and moreover – Israel is strong, and despite their wishes, it will be here forever.

I also wish to say to the President of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen: Stop lying, stop your incitement. A true leader must demonstrate responsibility. You need to stop the incitement disseminated from the Authority, both vis-a-vis the Temple Mount and the legitimate defensive actions taken by security forces and the citizens of Israel who are under attack by murderers. You need to fight the extremists who make innocent civilians pay a heavy price. 

The false and inflammatory incitement against us continues. An Arab boy inflicts fatal injuries on a Jewish boy and after being apprehended by security forces to stop his stabbing spree, he became a martyr because he was allegedly executed through no fault of his own. Well, first of all, he is not dead, he is alive. Second, he was not executed, he attempted to execute. He attempted to kill and execute, but your spokesperson announces the complete opposite in a distorted and outrageous statement.

I say to the President of the Palestinian Authority: Do not turn murderers into heroes. If, as a result of this incitement by Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority the situation deteriorates, you will bear the responsibility for it. In order to stop the evil, to restore the quiet and stability that both our peoples need, you must meet your obligations – and we will meet ours. 

I would like to say a few words to the Israeli Arabs: Do not let yourself be misled by inciters who wish to spark a conflagration in the country. We live together. We believe in coexistence. It is very easy to unravel the bonds that bind us together. Do not be tempted to do so. I know that there is a large sector of the public and of public leaders among the Arab citizens in Israel who know exactly what I am talking about. These leaders must find the courage to say these things and stand up to the zealots and extremists. I have called and I call again on every citizen in Israel – harming innocent civilians on either side is prohibited. Israel obeys the rule of law, and those who take the law into their hands will pay the price. 

I wish to add that Gandhi’s life story, its heroism and tragedy, can shine a light on these days. Gandhi used to say that his first childhood memory was of attacks by Arabs from Jerusalem on the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, where his parents resided during the 1929 riots. He said, "I saw the masses of rioters calling to kill the Jews, and with this memory I enlisted in the Palmach and served in the IDF through all the wars. I remembered this during the Six Day War, when I entered through the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and pledged eternal allegiance to the city."

Gandhi, who defended Jerusalem all his life, was murdered by terrorists who were also influenced by incitement. These terrorists, these murderers, saw him as a symbol of Zionist might and that is why they sought to harm him, particularly him. Gandhi’s Zionism was a single solid entirety – knowing the country, defending the country, populating the country. All of this was consolidated in a single structure. Gandhi carried this with him in all his security and public positions. He added important layers to the Iron Wall that protects us from our enemies, but we have no less of an iron will to fight those who seek our destruction, and with it we will achieve victory again.
Yael, dear Gandhi family, children and grandchildren, I must be brief in order to return to work. I am positive that this is what our beloved Gandhi would have done as well. 
May his memory be a blessing.