Itongadol.- The Palestinians are "being fed with fairytales about a return to the 1948 borders instead of the Jewish state," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.
The prime minister was speaking at a special event celebrating the Knesset\’s 67th birthday and marking 50 years to the inauguration of the Knesset building, which had quite a low turnout. In addition to Netanyahu, only five of the government\’s ministers arrived at the plenum – Ayelet Shaked, Avi Gabay, Uri Ariel, Ofir Akunis and Ze\’ev Elkin.
"The root of the conflict is the negation of the very existence of the State of Israel, the aspiration to wipe us off the face of the earth," Netanyahu said.
It was at this point that the Arab MKs left the plenum in protest, saying the prime minister\’s speech was "cheap right-wing demagogy and exploitation of the event." The Arab MKs returned after Netanyahu\’s speech.
The prime minister spoke about the threat of radical Islam worldwide, which presents an anti-democratic vision. "Israel is at the forefront of this campaign," he said.
Netanyahu also spoke about the murder of Dafna Meir outside her Otniel home on Sunday by a 15-year-old Palestinian.
"A great moral abyss separates us and our enemies," he said. "A despicable 15-year-old Palestinian murderer did not hesitate to take a life with such great cruelty. He likely absorbed the poison of hatred towards Jews from birth. The incitement against us by the Palestinians, including part of the Palestinian leadership unfortunately, does not stop. They\’re being fed with fairytales about a return to the 1948 borders – to Haifa, Jaffa, Acre and Safed – instead of the Jewish State."
In his speech, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) slammed the government, saying that "those who think they can stay in power by weakening the Knesset and canceling its authorities are transgressing the basic values the State of Israel was formed on as a Jewish and democratic state. Those who think they can stay in power by weakening the gatekeepers, the media, supervision, law and law enforcement authorities, are transgressing the basis of democracy that the State of Israel was formed on as a Jewish and democratic state."
Herzog warned that the "the rule of the majority can easily turn into the tyranny of the majority. The Israeli democracy, as strong as it is, is also fragile. The responsibility to strengthen, safeguard and protect it is ours – all members of the Knesset."
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called on the public "not to allow disturbing, outrageous or \’yellow\’ incidents taint the bigger picture. Remember what is the essence of the Knesset, its place, and decisive role in the government and in the Israeli democracy."
He urged Israeli citizens not to "allow a minority of public representatives, whose conduct in this plenum or outside of it disgraces mostly themselves, to taint the Knesset\’s image. Don\’t rush to generalize and besmirch the entire Knesset, with all of its work, its devoted employees, and its active members."
Edelstein went on to say that "like all of us, I hear the criticism and feel the general mood among the public, which is consistently giving us low grades (for our performance). This keeps me aware at night, because these aren\’t specific reservations about one MK or one incident, and it\’s not just the erosion of the Knesset\’s standing."