Int. Security Min. Faces Stabbing, Arson Head-On

Minister Gilad Erdan addresses both security breaches in candid interview Friday, opens investigation into Jerusalem stabbing.

Tova Dvorin,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Internal Security Minister MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) addressed the tense security situation in Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria on Friday, speaking as he arrived at the Western Wall to supervise security forces as they ascended the Temple Mount. 

"The Israel Police is preparing at full strength and professionalism to avoid disturbances," Erdan stated to Maariv. "This is a very, very tense and sensitive day."

"Jerusalem is the most complex city in the world security-wise," Erdan added. "We have seen in recent days calls by Hamas and additional terrorist organizations for a 'Day of Rage,' even before events overnight that increased tension even more." 

"The atmosphere is tense and I hope that today will be quiet," he added. "I call on the leaders to call for calm, moderation and coexistence."

"Unfortunately this is not the first incident," he said. "It joins a chain of events that smudge the rest of us. We need to to take stock of the fact that indications are that the attack was committed by Jews. "

"I repeat: a nation whose children were burnt in the Holocaust, should take stock of his children burning human beings." 

Erdan also addressed the stabbing at Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade Thursday, which both the public and the police itself have attributed - at least in part - to a horrific police oversight. 

"An inspection team was set up to examine the police, the implications of the case, and the functioning of various bodies, such as intelligence, in dealing with the Israel Prison Service," Erdan said. The stabber, Yishai Shlissel, had been released from prison just weeks ago for a similar attack in 2005 - but intelligence was apparently not informed of the security risk. 

But Erdan - perhaps mindful of the string of scandals and cover-ups under his predecessor, former Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich - maintained that the public would be kept informed of developments. 

"Everything will be done transparently and openly," he assured. "We have no intention to cover up, we have the intention to improve and get better. "

"Before rushing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we must remember that the police is working very hard," he added. "We should look at the enormity and complexity of the work they are doing here."