Israeli ministers take stand against settler violence

Left-wing members of the government held a conference at the Knesset dedicated to what they consider a significant increase in violence by West Bank settlers

Israeli settlers assaulting Palestinian residents and solidarity activists during an attack on an olive harvest in the town of Surif, South Hebron Hills, 12 November 2021

Mazal Mualem reports in Al-Monitor:

The fact that the two events coincided was typical of the tense state of Israeli security affairs. On Nov. 22, while the Knesset was discussing a rise in settler violence targeting Palestinians, a 25-year-old Israeli named Eliyahu David Kay was being laid to rest. Kay was killed in Jerusalem’s Old City a day earlier by a member of Hamas.

The combination of these two events turned a conference organized by members of the Knesset from the left into the site of a bitter clash with far-right members of the opposition. They argued that holding the conference when funeral services were being held for a man killed solely because he was a Jew showed an extreme lack of sensitivity.

That same morning, members of the Religious Zionist party and others tried to prevent the conference from taking place at all. They appealed to the speaker of the Knesset, Mickey Levy, asking him to cancel what they called “a conference of incitement and hatred.” They explained their opposition to the event, saying, “While Jewish blood is being spilled like water in the streets of the Old City, right next to the last remnant of our Temple, the Knesset is planning to host a conference led by the extreme left in the government on how to stop settler violence.”

Oded Revivi, head of the Efrat local council south of Jerusalem, is considered a moderate voice within the settlement movement. He wrote, “Since last Thursday, we have counted one dead and others injured in Jerusalem. Someone needs to tell the people behind the incitement — the people who scream ‘settler violence’ — that they are exaggerating the number of victims and the scope and regularity [of the violence]. The Knesset is not the place to deceive the public. Taking a marginal phenomenon and using it disproportionately to stain an entire sector of the population borders on a lack of logic and integrity.”

In response, Knesset members from the left said that while they share in the grief of the family of Kay, they cannot stand idly by in the face of the violence raging in the West Bank, which targets innocent Palestinians.

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