Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog has called on Israel to accept refugees from Syria, in addition to the humanitarian efforts it is already making.
Speaking at the weekly "Shabbatarbut" event in Tel Aviv, Herzog asserted that "Jews cannot be indifferent when hundreds of thousands of refugees are searching for a safe haven."
Israel has already been providing medical aid to Syrians injured near its borders.
But his comments proved controversial, as Israel is already struggling to deal with tens of thousands of illegal African immigrants claiming refugee status. In particular, working-class residents in neighborhoods in southern Tel Aviv – where most illegals live – say they are being made to pay the price of policies by the liberal elite.
Several Israelis reacted to Herzog's call on his Facebook page.
Someone identifying himself as Sefi Kamrani wrote: "Take all the refugees into your home if you're so worried about them. I'd like to see you live just one week in south Tel Aviv."
Herzog's comments came shortly after two major terrorist attacks in southern Syria, close to the border with Israel.
In one, at least 26 people were killed and scores more injured when two car bombs exploded in the city of Suweida.
Among the dead was Sheikh Wahid al-Balous, an outspoken critic of the Assad regime and a prominent figure within the Druze community. He was killed along with at least three other people; when the ambulance reached the local hospital, the second car bomb was detonated, killing many more.
Shortly following the car bombings, six members of the Syrian security forces were shot dead by armed Druze men amid widespread riots in revenge for the earlier attack, which local Druze blamed on the regime.