Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) attended on Thursday a memorial service marking seven years since the death of IDF hero Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno.
Moreno, a close friend of Bennett’s, was killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. He served in such a sensitive position that his picture has not been released to the public to this day.
In his remarks at the memorial ceremony on Mount Herzl, Bennett referred to this week’s decision by the Cabinet to release 104 terrorist murderers as a gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Bennett, who voted against the release, said that releasing terrorists was contrary to all the values that he - and Moreno - had been taught through their service in the IDF.
"Your image is with me in every step I take, and you remind me every day that we can fight for our home while remaining loyal to the Torah,” said Bennett. “The decision to release terrorist killers is contrary to all the values we were taught in the IDF - values which say that there are no compromises in the fight against murderous terrorism.”
He added, "These days we must find strong mental strength against the crises and stand firm against foreign officials who want us to deny Jewish history and values and tear down communities."
"Your light and your values, Emanuel, accompany me and live within me,” said Bennett. “The feelings over the loss of leadership and your death were what caused me to enter public life. You taught us about love for the Land of Israel and its people, and what insistence on the truth, even when it’s not popular, is all about."
On Sunday, the Israeli government voted in favor of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau's plan to release 104 terrorist prisoners from jail, as a gesture that will accompany the reopening of peace talks.
The identities of the prisoners will be determined by a committee of ministers that will be headed by Netanyahu, and will include Justice Minister Livni, Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich and Minister of Science Yaakov Perry, a former Shin Bet head.
The decision was passed with a majority of 13 ministers in favor, seven opponents and two who abstained.
Hours before the vote, Bennett said, “Terrorists should be killed, not released. All my life I fought towards fulfilling the two parts of this sentence. Tomorrow I will vote against.”
He said, "I am the last one who needs to be convinced not to release murderers. I’ve instructed the Bayit Yehudi ministers to vote against.”