Israel remains on high alert after thousands of mourners attended the funerals of four Israelis murdered in terror attacks over the past week.
Staff Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22, brothers Yaakov Yisroel, 6, and Asher Menachem Paley, 8, and rabbinical student Alter Shlomo Lederman, 20, died in a spate of attacks in the past week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited the Paley shiva on Tuesday where they spoke to the boys’ mother, Devorah Paley, who told them about the heartfelt support they had received across the country.
Netanyahu asked permission to put a picture of Devorah’s sons in his office. “This tragic story will help me explain to world leaders the difference between Am Yisrael and our enemies,” he said.
“I feel that our tragedy is shared by all the people of Israel,” Devorah told reporters on Sunday. “I sense the identification and the outpouring of concern from everyone. It is like the two children taken from us belonged to all the nation and that helps me cope.”
Devorah added: “They were killed because they were Jews by a terrorist and died in the name of G-d. We only hope that they will not have died in vein”.
Devorah asked for prayers for her husband, Abraham Paley, who was seriously injured. The couple had nine children with a 10th on the way.
The number of attacks have shocked Israelis and the government. Netanyahu’s cabinet have discussed launching a widescale operation in East Jerusalem to fight terrorism.
Political ramifications followed the Security Cabinet announcing nine new settlements in Judea and Samaria in response to the attacks in Jerusalem. The communities are Avigil, Bet Hogla, Givat Harel/Haroeh, Givat Arnon, Mitzpe Yehuda, Malachei Hashalom, Ashael, Sde Boaz and Shaharit.
Netanyahu and his security ministers are determined to make a stance.
Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting: “We have once again seen the immense difference between the brutality of our enemies and the humanity of our people. Our enemies murder young children in Jerusalem and celebrate their murder while we are rescuing young children in Turkey and praising their rescue.”
He added: “The answer to terrorism is to hit it hard. To further strengthen the settlement enterprise in our country, which the terrorists seek to displace.”
Sawaed was killed by friendly fire by a security guard after being stabbed by terrager Muhammad Bassel Fathi Zalbani at a military checkpoint in East Jerusalem on Monday.
The border officer passed away at Hadassah Mt. Scopus Medical Center. He was due to be promoted on Israel’s Independence Day in May. He is survived by his parents and six siblings.
Security forces made arrests in Shu’afat, where Zalbanu, 13, lives including his parents.
Yaakov Yisroel and Asher Menachem died in a car ramming attack at a bus stop in the Ramot neighbourhood of Jerusalem last Friday.
Lederman, 20, had been married only two months. He was travelling with his wife to his parents’ home for Shabbat. Lederman died at Shaare Zedek Medical Center from his wounds.
The terrorist, Hussein Karakah, 31 of Issawiya, was shot dead by an off-duty policeman.
Netanyahu has called for police to pinpoint targets and commended police officers eliminating the terrorist at the scene and preventing further murders.
Police sealed off Karakah’s family home and arrested family members for questioning.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir spoke about a counterterror operation in East Jerusalem after visiting car ramming site on Friday. “The police have already begun this operation with low intensity, but it will grow more and more,” he said.
The Security Cabinet have reinforced Police and Border Police units in Jerusalem and expanded Police operations against backers of terrorism.
In related news, a 17-year-old Israeli was wounded in another terrorist stabbing in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.
Security forces arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian suspect from Shu’afat who was detained.
Israel’s military struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation to a rocket fired at Israel over the weekend.
Palestinians celebrated the attacks.