Opposition chairperson MK Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union) on Saturday called on the government to outlaw nationalist groups such as Lehava and the Beitar Jerusalem soccer fan club La Familia, and label them "terrorist organizations."
He called for administrative arrests that do not require a warrant and can be renewed indefinitely, and even demolitions of homes, to be used against "Jewish terror." The calls come after an Arab infant was killed in a lethal arson attack on Friday that the IDF indicates may have been committed by Jewish extremists, due to the presence of Hebrew graffiti at the site.
"Jewish terrorists" endanger the security of Israel just like Islamic terrorists, Herzog claimed on his Facebook page.
Speaking at a pro-homosexual rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday night, Herzog called on the political right-wing to conduct a "soul-searching," after "from your camp awful violence has come, setting schools on fire, the Church of the Multiplication, and stabbing innocent souls."
He said there is a need for "acts appropriate to the danger to the security of Israel from the Jewish terrorists and the Islamic terror. If I was in your place, Prime Minister (Binyamin) Netanyahu, I would order to deal with Jewish terror as with Islamic terror. Those who knew to find the murderers of the (three Israeli) abducted youths will also know to find the murderers of Ali Dawabsha," he said, referencing the Arab infant killed in the arson attack.
Bentzi Gopshtain, director of the Lehava anti-assimilation group, issued a strong response to Herzog's call to label his group a "terror organization."
"Instead of fighting the enemies of the nation of Israel, Buji (Herzog) prefers to hug the Holocaust denier (Mahmoud) Abbas and to encourage the enemies of Israel who are in the Knesset, and calls to illegalize good Jews working for the nation of Israel."
"Of him (Hezog) the Jewish sages said that all those who show mercy on the wicked, in the end are cruel to the merciful," concluded Gopshtain.
Following a police crackdown last December against Gopshtain's organization on vague charges of "incitement," the group was vindicated by the court which threw out the police claims against Lehava, and ruled that its anti-assimilation activities – which are a core precept of Judaism – are fully legal according to Israeli law.