Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) on Tuesday welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to outlaw the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement, telling Arutz Sheva the move was another firm step against incitement and terrorism.
"This decision should have been made long ago," Gamliel said, adding, "The northern branch helps Hamas and internal terrorism and this decision will send to jail all those who will contact them."
"It's an organization that pays Arab children to throw rocks," she continued. "An organization that seeks to undermine the State of Israel and supports terrorism. I hope that the decision which states that their bank accounts will be frozen will stop their ability to operate in a crude way, as we saw with respect to the Temple Mount.".
Gamliel noted that Israel had made a “responsible decision” in only outlawing the northern branch of the movement. "The decision was responsible, not to boycott the entire Islamic Movement but only the northern branch and not the southern branch. When it comes to humanitarian aid, we will not attack them, we only outlaw those who aid terrorism," she said.
She expressed hope that some Arab MKs will moderate their actions following the outlawing of the Islamic Movement.
"We are placing clear boundaries with this decision. Over the past year we have seen a change of trend among most Arab MKs, more of them are focusing their activity on Arab civil needs and less on incisive discourse. Some of them are affiliated with the northern branch and I hope they will from now on only deal with assistance to the Arab citizens of Israel," said Gamliel.
Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Arutz Sheva earlier Tuesday that with the decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Israel has gone "from the talking phase to the action phase" as regards the movement's operations.
Bennett stated that according to Israeli intelligence, the movement is "a sister organization to Hamas."
When asked if the decision does not come too late, seeing as the Islamic Movement has been making its mischief for many years, he replied: "This is an important decision. We do not look at the past, but years ahead. What country do we want to see? We are always pushing toward action and decisions."
Senior Hevron activist Baruch Marzel was unimpressed with the decision, saying the move is "too little, too late."
"It's good that they declared the Islamic Movement illegal, but the thought that the entire problem is (the movement's head) Raed Salah and members of (the Arab) Balad (party) is a huge problem," said Marzel.
"Those who want to eliminate the state of Israel and do it in a nicer way are no less dangerous, and they and their activities should be declared illegal," he added, in a possible reference to the Joint List of Arab MKs, which currently is the third largest party.
The decision saw Islamic Movement offices raided and closed, and due to the move those working with the group can be jailed, and all property belonging to it can be seized.
However, Marzel said the move is ineffective as long as money is allowed to continue streaming into the group from oil-rich Arab states and other hostile countries.
"Making the Islamic Movement illegal will be a slap on the wrist for them, they will recuperate from it quickly with renewed and strengthened activities," he warned.