On Thursday night Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) sharply criticized the rock throwing attack earlier in the night in Jerusalem which left a two year old infant with head injuries. Ben-Dahan put the blame squarely on US Secretary of State John Kerry.
4 Arabs aged 15-20 were arrested Thursday night over suspicion of carrying out the attack. Two year old Avigail Ben-Tzion's condition has stabilized and she appears not to be in life-threatening danger.
Ben-Dahan, at the dedication of a new synagogue in Ramat Elkana, located in the Etz Efraim community of Samaria, said the attack "was thanks to Secretary of State Kerry, who only a few days ago said if we won't reach peace a third intifada will break out here."
Kerry's threats of a third intifada have been criticized by others as well. MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) on November 8 linked Kerry's statement with the several terrorist attacks that followed it the same day and the day after.
Ben-Dahan panned Kerry's intifada threats, saying "the terrorists don't wait if there's peace or not, they showed Kerry that with all due respect, they don't need him and his encouragement. They attack us every day and every moment."
At this juncture following the attack, Ben-Dahan insisted "we need to say to Mr. Kerry: go back to America, deal with problems there, you can't be a fair intermediary here."
Ben-Dahan attacked Kerry directly, saying "you're not appropriate, you don't understand the mentality and what happens here in the land of Israel."
In early November, Kerry stated that the US position is that Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria are "illegitimate."
Despite these statements, Jewish presence in the area is flourishing.
Gershon Messika, head of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council, noted at the event that Etz Efraim is quadrupling its size quickly, adding "the residents of Judea and Samaria need to flower not only physically but also spiritually, and the establishment of a new synagogue is a strong expression of that."
Meanwhile Yossi Dagan, deputy chairman of the Shomron Council, said "yesterday we placed the foundation stone to establish a clubhouse in the community of Alei Zahav, we put the foundation stone to build an educational office in Itamar, and today we're dedicating a synagogue in Etz Efraim. ...The settling (of Judea and Samaria) is at the beginning of its path in terms of its ability to grow...it will become the center of everything in the State of Israel."