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      Netanyahu Tries to Calm Furor Over Infiltrators

      Sensing that the public can take no more, Prime Minister delivers video message asking citizens not to take the law into their own hands.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 12/22/2010, 6:41 PM / Last Update: 12/22/2010, 7:28 PM

      Flash 90

      Sensing that the public is fed up with the infiltrator problem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a video message Wednesday to Israeli citizens imploring them not to take the law into their own hands.

      "The government of Israel is acting resolutely to halt the flow of illegal infiltrators from Africa," Netanyahu said. "We are doing this by building a fence - a fence that had not been built for many years, [and] now is. We are doing it through actions to return the illegal infiltrators to their countries. This was not done for many years and now we are doing it. We are taking other actions as well."

      "I am asking for one thing and insisting upon it. The citizens of Israel cannot take the law into their own hands. They cannot be engaged in violence or in vitriol, because the government is acting. It is our job to solve the problem and we will solve it. But I ask you to respect the law. We are a state that has laws. We are a state that respects all people, whoever they are, and we will act to solve this problem within the framework of the law. That is what we expect and that is what I demand of every single citizen."

      Netanyahu's short video message follows demonstrations this week in Bat Yam and Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood. The demonstrators were protesting the influx of Arabs and African infiltrators into their neighborhoods, and the rise in crime as well as the harassment of Jewish women that this entails.

      Among the organizers of and participants in the demonstrations are MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and activist Baruch Marzel. The left-wing media is aghast in the face of the grass-roots origin of the demonstrations, which it sees  as "racist" rather than citizens demanding neighborhood safety and is reporting incidents of alleged violence by Jews against Arabs and foreigners. The fact that MK Ben Ari, Marzel and other activists associated with the right are taking part in the demonstrations is causing the Israeli left to predict  that a resurgence of Meir Kahane's ideology is brewing.