Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned the radical Islamic terror group Hamas on Tuesday that its members would find “a ticket to hell” should it continue to carry out acts of terror against Israel.
Hamas, who Israel says is responsible behind the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, has increased its violent rhetoric against Israel and recently called on its members to carry out terror attacks against Israelis and IDF soldiers in Judea and Samaria.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Bennett slammed the Palestinian Authority’s condemnation of the abductions, which came four days after the kidnapping took place. “In English they speak of one thing, and in Arabic they speak of murder,” Bennett said.
Upon news of the kidnappings, Palestinians in Gaza celebrated in the streets, rejoicing over the abductions of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frankel, 16, and Gilad Shaar, 16. Bennett accused Jibril Rajoub, a top Fatah members, of “celebrating the kidnappings on Palestinian TV.”
The economy minister said that Israel must halt its practice of releasing Palestinian terrorists from prison in exchange for abducted Israelis, which he says leads to an endless cycle of kidnappings.
“The State of Israel needs to stop releasing prisoners in instances like this, which we have done for 30 years…If we exchange prisoners, this cycle will never end,” he said.
Overnight Monday, in a wave of mass arrests, IDF forces apprehended 41 Hamas members in Judea and Samaria. Commenting on the operations being carried out by the IDF to find the kidnapped teens, Bennett said that Israel was working multiple fronts in its search operations.
However, he made clear that the abductions were not a unique happening. The Palestinians, Bennett said, operate on a “complete culture where Israel is [perceived as] Satan, not just Hamas but also the Palestinian Authority…where they name squares after murderers and pay them salaries.”
Bennett stressed that Israel was not dealing with some far away neighbor. “We are not talking about Norway next to us,” he said. Rather, Israel is facing one of the most “lethal, barbaric organizations in the world.”
Bennett stressed that Israel must “totally change direction” and that Hamas and other radical Islamist organizations must know that “kidnapping children will bring more and more headache…We will make Hamas membership a ticket to hell.”