The Knesset’s work was overshadowed by the terrorist attack in a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday, with several committees discussing its aftermath.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said immediately after the attack: “Israel should not be in any kind of talks with those who slaughter innocents in their holy places.”
“The shocking massacre unfortunately sums up the Palestinian stance. While we make efforts and call for calm, the Palestinian Authority’s brutal incitement continues and gets worse,” he added.
Later Tuesday, the Knesset Speaker opened the plenum with a message to the international community: “We are sick of condemnations, we want actions.”
“I want to criticize once and for all the limp condemnations that come again and again from what is left of the enlightened world,” he said. “We have to make sure that the enlightened world acts to punish the inciters with practical steps.”
Edelstein also called for people not to take the law into their own hands or incite against the police and the IDF, because that would help the terrorists.
Construction Minister Uri Ariel called the attack a repeat of the 1929 Hebron massacre, in which 67 Jews were killed, saying that Abbas’ “endless incitement” encouraged it.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) opened a meeting by describing the scene of the attack.
“I saw difficult sights, of Jews in a tallit who were butchered. It reminded me of similar images from Europe, where Jews were murdered just for being Jews,” she said.
Regev praised the police for responding quickly, adding that “we need to use an iron fist against anyone who thinks of harming Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. We need to go back to taking care of terrorism like we know how.”
UTJ MK Ya’acov Asher said that every synagogue should have at least one security guard for morning prayers.
MK Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) told the Interior Committee that the Knesset should continue as usual; otherwise it would be letting the terrorists win.
Tamano-Shata also said “it is puzzling that the world is silent,” to which Regev responded: “If God forbid this had happened in a mosque, the whole world would have been outraged.”
MKs across the political spectrum had suggested responses to the terrorist attack.
Shas leader Arye Deri, who lives near the site of the attack, said that Israel is at war and should no longer show restraint and just defend itself.
“The horrible massacre of worshippers in a synagogue does not leave us any choice. We are at war for our lives,” he stated. “I call on the prime minister to treat these events as a war situation in every way and start an uncompromising operation to eradicate terrorism in Jerusalem and bring quiet and security back to the residents.”
MK Eli Yishai (Shas), who also lives in Har Nof, said “Jews were massacred in Jerusalem today while wrapped in tallit and tefilin, just because they were Jews. There is a war in Jerusalem and the authorities must respond as such. This is a war for the continued existence of Israel.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) sent his condolences to the families of the victims, calling the attack “a criminal act of the worst kind.”
Herzog called for the government to capture the terrorists and bring them to justices.
However, Herzog said the fight in terrorism must come together with cooperation and dialogue with “moderates in the area,” to bring quiet back to the streets.
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) suggested that Israel disengage from Jabel Mukaber, which is where the terrorists who committed Tuesday’s massacre come from, as did many others in the past.
“We don’t need to insist on Israeli sovereignty there and in similar places. Turning the village into a Jerusalem neighborhood and giving its citizens blue identity cards hurts Israel’s security and the safety of Jerusalem residents,” she said. “We need to think rationally in order to bring security to Jerusalem in the long term.”
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) recommended the exact opposite, saying that “whoever runs away from Jabel Mukaber will get terrorists in Har Nof.”
Struck called on the government to “finally decide that all of Jerusalem is ours and under our responsibility and give security forces the mission to make this undeniably true.”
Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said that the Third Intifada is beginning and called the terrorists “animals” for killing people during prayers.
“Decision-makers must do everything to allow security forces to oppress the terrorism and take care of all Hamas leaders and inciters, with Abbas first,” he said.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) suggested that the government not return the bodies of the terrorists to their families, so that they aren’t martyred and made heroes for the next generation of Palestinian terrorists.
“When Jews can’t pray safely on the Temple Mount, they can’t pray safely at all, not in Har Nof or anywhere else in the world,” MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) said.
Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie called to increase law enforcement in Jerusalem to bring security back to the streets.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said that both Israeli and Palestinian leadership should do everything to calm the atmosphere and avoid a continued escalation of violence.