Israel’s Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who has been repeatedly warning that “dangerous Jewish extremists” are planning to blow up the Temple Mount and assassinate Ariel Sharon to disrupt his Gaza pullout plan, had a leisurely chat last week outside his home, with no protection, with some of the leaders he has claimed are “fomenting violence,” WorldNetDaily has learned.
“It would be like the director of the FBI accusing a group of trying to blow up the White House and then just strolling out of his house to chat with them,” said a Kahane leader, who provided WorldNetDaily with a photo of Hanegbi sitting next to right-wing leaders Baruch Ben-Yosef and Itamar Ben Gvir, both of whom Hanegbi has been reportedly investigating for “possibly plotting attacks.”
From right: Kahane leaders Baruch Ben Yosef and Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, and a Kahane member.
Mike Guzofsky, director of the Jewish Legion in the Kfar Tapuach settlement, said Hanegbi “came out to greet the so-called extremists, who were holding a protest outside of his house. From our picture, one can learn just how scared Hanegbi is of these extremists he warns about constantly in the media. He is shown without bodyguards, sitting right next to them, yawning and looking rather comfy.”
The same extremists shown in the photo with Hanegbi were recently featured in an article by Israel’s Yediot Achronot newspaper about Hanegbi’s proposed administrative detention of Jewish leaders on Israel’s terrorism watch list.
Some settler leaders have accused Hanegbi and Sharon of contriving reports of settler violence and extremism to discredit the settlement movement and foment domestic and international opposition to the settlers ahead of Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan in 2005.
“We have said continually that any protests we are planning will be entirely peaceful,” said Guzofsky.
Hanegbi has warned that Jewish extremists are planning to use airplane drones or missiles to blow up the Al Aqsa Mosque, and said extremist Jews are plotting to assassinate Sharon.
“We sense that the threat level on the Temple Mount by extremist and fanatic Jewish elements, in order to upset the situation and be a a catalyst for change of the political process, has increased in the last few months, and especially in the last few weeks, more than any time in the past,” Hanegbi said.
“Also there are people who have already taken the decision that, come the day they are going to ‘save Israel’, that they are going to kill the prime minister. … I have no doubt that they are out there,” warned Hanegbi.
Just yesterday, Sharon’s top aide Dov Weisglass told Israel’s Channel 2 television the Israeli prime minister faces mounting assassination threats.
But last week, leaders of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the largest settlers group, signed a document, the “Covenant of Brothers,” that pledges to avert violence in the face of settler contention over Sharon’s disengagement plan and its implementation.
The document says its intention is to foster openness that is free of provocation and allows the viewpoints of all sides to be heard peacefully.
“It may be that an extremely small sector of settlers are thinking crazy thoughts, but this is not even a tangible minority,” a Yesha leader told WorldNetDaily.
“Because of these announcements about assassinations of Sharon and Jewish terrorism, people are starting to demonize us, but this is very unfair and misplaced.”
But some Israeli officials argue that it was Israel’s failure to take Jewish extremist threats seriously during the Oslo Accords that helped pave the way to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Officials at the Shin Bet warned that recent incitement toward violence must be acted on, particularly when it has a religious dimension to it.
Avigdor Nebenzahl, prominent rabbi of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City, recently declared that anyone giving away a part of the land of Israel is a “rodef” – someone whom it is permissible or required by Jewish law to kill before he kills.
“Of course you are going to find a heightened sensitivity about Jewish threats against Sharon because we’ve unfortunately experienced in the past that these kinds of threats can lead to disaster,” Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin told WorldNetDaily.
Aside from the Rabin assassination, there have been instances of Jewish terrorism in the past, however the trend is considered extremely rare. In February 1994, U.S.-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, a member of the Kach movement, opened fire on Muslim worshipers in the Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 29 people and wounding more than 100.
“But just because of this, settlers don’t deserve these labels,” a Yesha leader said. “This is not the way we act, and we regret that the media is paying so much attention to the government’s warnings. It’s changing the issue, which is about the disengagement plan and the future of our land.”
Israeli President Moshe Katzav said last week certain right-wing activists should be apprehended before they harm anyone.
“If the Shin Bet has information about illegal activities being planned, means of reaction should be flexible,” said Katzav. “We cannot wait for someone to take some wicked action that will result in catastrophe.”
David Ha’Ivri, a leader of the settlers’ grass-roots movement, told WorldNetDaily, “Sharon and the rest of them have lost the way and now they are losing their mind with these crazy proclamations.”