TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly echoed some of the general sentiments of Donald Trump on Saturday, when the Israeli leader questioned the loyalty of segments of the Israeli-Arab population.
Amid an outcry from his opponents, Netanyahu defended his remarks during a Sunday cabinet meeting, saying he was “not impressed by criticism in this regard.”
“This is true for all Israeli citizens – Jews and Arabs alike,” Netanyahu said of his call, repeated on Sunday, to ensure that “Israel is a state under unified law,”
Speaking Saturday at the scene of a shooting attack in Tel Aviv one day before, Netanyahu vowed to “dramatically increase” police presence in Arab towns, while calling for an end to anti-Israel incitement in Israeli-Arab mosques and for all Israeli-Arabs to remain loyal to the State of Israel.
“We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector,” Netanyahu said of Israeli-Arab neighborhoods. “We will open new police stations, recruit more police officers, go into all the towns and demand of everyone loyalty to the laws of the state.”
After expressing satisfaction with some Arab leaders’ condemnations of the shooting, Netanyahu singled out the Israeli-Arab population.
“We all know there is wild incitement by radical Islam in the Arab sector,” Netanyahu said. “Incitement in mosques, incitement in the education system, incitement in social media.
“I will not accept two nations within Israel: a lawful nation for all its citizens and a (second) nation within a nation for some of its citizens, in pockets of lawlessness.
“Those times are over,” Netanyahu added. “Whoever wants to be Israeli must be fully Israeli — both in rights and in obligations. And the first and paramount obligation is to abide by the laws of the state.”
Netanyahu called on Arab Knesset members, “all of them, without exception, to condemn the murder clearly and unequivocally. Murder is murder, it must be condemned and acted against by all sides.”
Netanyahu’s remarks were unsurprisingly criticized by Arab lawmakers and others in the political opposition.
Knesset Member Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List, a largely Arab coalition party, accused Netanyahu of racism, adding that the prime minister “aims to sway the conversation from the crimes of the occupation and hate crimes, and create a hostile and alienating environment towards an entire religious group.
Touma-Sliman claimed the Israeli government “has always tried to ignore Arab villages and towns and gives opportunities for crime, weapons, and poverty to spread in them; it understood today that the fire does not know the difference between Jews and Arabs.
“Law enforcements means treating us as citizens with equal rights and not like criminals and incite against us,” she stated. “Netanyahu should start acting like a prime minister and not an oppressive military commander.”
Knesset Member Essawi Frej of the far-left Meretz Party said Israeli-Arabs were united in their opposition to the Tel Aviv attack. “We didn’t hear stuttering, certainly not justifications. We saw an entire society that was shocked.”
“Today, we all have the responsibility to fight for our joint future, to look for what unites us and fight those, Arab and Jewish, who ask to sow fear, violence, and hatred,” Frej added.
Shelly Yacimovich of the Zionist Union party slammed Netanyahu’s remarks on Twitter. She claimed the prime minister “rushed to a pointless photo-op at the site of a painful, bleeding terrorist attack, set up a strange podium, and incited horribly against all Israeli-Arab citizens. … I have a problem with orchestrated incitement on the blood [of the victims of the attack] to cover up failure.”
Oren Hazan, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, also appeared to criticize Netanyahu. He tweeted:
“There is a thick and clear line separating the million and a half faithful Israeli-Arabs from the terrorist minority, against which we must act with no mercy. We must not turn over a million citizens into enemies.”
While Netanyahu didn’t go so far as to oppose Muslim immigration or call for a temporary travel ban,his sentiments seemed to echo some of those expressed by Donald Trump in the days following last month’s San Bernardino massacre.
The attack was perpetrated by two Muslims, one of whom, Tashfeen Malik, entered the country on a K-1 fiancée visa. She became the wife of the second shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S. citizen.
Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Netanyahu rejected Trump’s comments on Muslim immigration while recognizing that radical Islam is a threat to Muslims, Christians, and Jews worldwide.
Netanyahu’s office released a statement to reporters affirming, “The prime minister rejects the recent comments by Donald Trump regarding Muslims.”
“Israel respects all religions and … preserves the rights of all its citizens,” the statement said, adding that “at the same time, Israel is struggling against the radical Islamism that targets Muslims, Christians, and Jews as one and poses a threat to the entire world.”
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the wake of his remarks, Trump clarified that under his proposal American Muslims can come and go as they please.
Trump expressed his hopes that a shutdown “will go quickly,” as soon as “our leaders figure out what the hell is going on.” “If a person is a Muslim, goes overseas, and comes back, they can come back. They’re a citizen. That’s different,” Trump explained. “But we have to figure things out.”
Speaking on CNN last month, Trump further warned that the country risks more terrorist attacks if his plan for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration is not implemented. “You’re going to have many more World Trade Centers if you don’t solve it – many, many more, and probably beyond the World Trade Center,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Trump speculated that there are already terrorists inside the country. “They want our buildings to come down; they want our cities to be crushed. … They are living within our country. And many of them want to come from outside our country.”
In a statement released to reporters on Monday, Trump cited a poll from the Center for Security Policy showing that segments of the Muslim population hold anti-American views. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred toward Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.
The Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.”
Trump urged Americans to better understand the ideology of radical Islam before allowing Muslims into the country.
Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine.
Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.