‘Red lines crossed’: Netanyahu appeals for calm, slams rioting in Tel Aviv and Huwara

National Unity party leader Benny Gantz called for dialogue; Netanyahu said his “door is open.”

By World Israel News Staff

Throughout the day on Wednesday, demonstrators against the government’s planned judicial reforms caused mayhem – blocking traffic across the country and bringing traffic on major thoroughfares to a complete standstill.

In a statement to the media in the evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu censured the anarchists.

“Citizens of Israel, the right to demonstrate is a fundamental democratic value; however, freedom to demonstrate is not freedom to bring the country to a halt,” he said.

“The person who said this 20 years ago was the former President of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak,” who led a judicial revolution in the 1990s.

“The freedom to demonstrate is not a license to drive the country into anarchy, to chaos, because a sovereign country cannot tolerate anarchy.”

The prime minister acknowledged that among citizens on both sides of the debate – those who support the reforms and those who oppose them – are many who love the State of Israel.

“But in a democracy, there are clear rules how to have a debate. There are red lines that cannot be crossed, and it does not matter how deep, stormy and emotional the debate is. The sharp and clear red line is that violence and anarchy are absolutely forbidden.”

‘We cannot tolerate violence’

Netanyahu then seemed to compare those who caused chaos during the protests to residents of Judea and Samaria who rioted in Huwara Sunday in response to the deadly terror committed by residents of the PA village.

“Yesterday in Huwara, following the awful murder of two marvelous brothers, I told the lawbreakers: We will not tolerate a situation in which everybody does what they deem fit,” he said.

“We cannot tolerate violence. We cannot tolerate assaulting police officers. We cannot tolerate blocking highways. We cannot tolerate threatening public figures and their families. We will not allow lawbreaking and violence anywhere.”

Netanyahu slammed Opposition leader Yair Lapid, saying he is “attempting to generate anarchy” in order to bring about new elections. The prime minister appealed to those who disagree with the reforms to join a dialogue rather than follow Lapid’s lead.

He then referenced the ‘Disengagement’ from Gush Katif in Gaza 20 years ago, when “the Government of Israel decided to uproot over 8,000 Israelis from their homes, to exhume bodies, and to destroy their communities.”

Unlike today, despite the pain and passion, the protesters did not become violent, he said.

“Those who opposed the policy of the Government saw their life’s work crumbling, and many of them believed with all their heart that this was the start of the destruction of the Third Temple. They set out on a sharp and determined struggle, a pointed and powerful public struggle that encompassed many people in the country…

“But I will also say something else; I know that this is not everyone.” Esti Yaniv, mother of the two brothers murdered in the terror attack, “was expelled from Gush Katif and lost her two boys on Monday. At the hardest moment of her life, she called for unity and she is right.

“I am again calling for calm. I am calling for a halt to the violence, and I believe and hope that we will soon find a path to dialogue. Nobody will raise a hand to his fellow, because we are brothers. We have no other country.”

Gantz, MKs call for compromise

Earlier in the evening, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz spoke with Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, asking them to join him in a meeting with President Isaac Herzog to try and reach a compromise regarding the judicial reforms. Netanyahu reportedly responded that his “door is open.”

Likud MKs Yuli Edelstein and Danny Danon, along with National Unity lawmakers Gadi Eisenkot and Chili Tropper, joined the call for dialogue.

Following Netanyahu’s plea, Lapid tweeted in response,” Netanyahu the only anarchy that is being generated is by the government over whom you have lost control.”

During the protests, a mob surrounded a salon where Sara Netanyahu was having her hair done, saying they would prevent her from leaving. Police were called to her rescue.

The post ‘Red lines crossed’: Netanyahu appeals for calm, slams rioting in Tel Aviv and Huwara appeared first on World Israel News.

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