Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening weighed in on the growing controversy, after MK Zuhair Bahloul (Zionist Union) earlier in the day said the Arab terrorist who stabbed a soldier in Hevron two weeks ago was not a "terrorist."
"MK Bahloul's words are embarrassing," said Netanyahu.
"IDF soldiers defend our lives from bloodthirsty murderers with their bodies. I expect every citizen of Israel, and especially members of the Knesset, to give them full backing."
The terrorist in question together with an accomplice moderately wounded a soldier before being shot. While lying wounded on the ground the terrorist was shot dead by a soldier currently on trial for manslaughter; the soldier argues he fired over concerns the terrorist was moving to detonate a hidden bomb belt.
In a touch of irony given his call for the full backing of soldiers, Netanyahu himself was among those who rushed to condemn the soldier even before the case was investigated.
In his comments Bahloul said that terrorists who attack soldiers or military centers are not terrorists but rather they "struggle for freedom."
His Zionist Union party published a statement in response, clarifying that Bahloul's comments “do not reveal or represent the position of the Zionist Union."
Zionist Union head MK Yitzhak Herzog also condemned Bahloul on Facebook, saying, "I made clear to MK Zuhair Bahloul that I strongly reject and condemn his statement and the position of the Zionist Union is that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, no matter if you went to kill Arabs or Jews."