Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu once again compared the Islamist group Hamas with the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), saying that the variety of Islamist terrorist groups throughout the Middle East and Africa were all "branches of the same poisonous tree."

"ISIS and Hamas and Al Qaeda and al-Nusra and Boko Haram and Hezbollah, supported by Iran - they're branches of the same poisonous tree. It's the same ideology with minor nuances," Netanyahu told an Israel Bonds leadership delegation.

"What's the great difference between ISIS and Hamas? The great difference, supposedly, between ISIS and Hamas is that those, the former, lop heads off and the others shoot people in the head," he added, echoing a similar statement made by a senior Palestinian Authority official earlier this month.

Tawfik Tirawi issued a scathing rebuke of Hamas on official PA TV, accusing it of executing and maiming scores of political rivals during Operation Protective Edge.

"What is the difference between (Hamas) and ...ISIS?" he exclaimed at one point.

"I don't want to mention ISIS, which beheads people," he continued. "(But) what is the difference between beheading people and executing them by gunfire? Aren't they both killers, regardless of the execution method, which we all denounce?"

Speaking to the delegation, Netanyahu also took the opportunity to respond publicly to the brutal beheading of British aid worker David Haines by the Islamic State.

"We have been notified today of another act of savagery from ISIS and I send our condolences to the people of Britain. We understand what kind of barbarism they face," he continued. "We also understand that we have great tasks for defending our country as a result of these dangers that are enveloping our region.

"We need a very strong defense. We need a strong army, but we also need a strong economy. And the balance of the two is one of the great tasks that we have before us and I intend to have both: A strong defense and a strong economy."

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