Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen
Shin Bet chief Yoram CohenMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) fired back at Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) head Yoram Cohen on Tuesday, who told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee following the Har Nof terror attack that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "did not incite terror."

Cohen likewise claimed that the "cause" of recent terrorism was the visits by several MKs and public figures to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, in a call for Jewish prayer rights after Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick was shot by an Arab terrorist.

"The head of the Shin Bet is a partner in the blood libel that sees elected public figures who go to the Temple Mount as the impetus for Arab terror," charged Hotovely. "Instead of attacking the murderers and the head of the Palestinian Authority, he preferred to blame the Jews."

"This is a low point in the security outlook of Israel, when the head of a security system gives a hand to the loss of sovereignty at the holiest site to the Jewish people," added Hotovely.

Earlier Cohen had raised Hotovely's ire by claiming before the Knesset committee that Abbas "isn't interested in terror and isn't leading terror. He also isn't doing so under the table." He hedged by saying "there are people in the Palestinian public who can take Abu Mazen's (Abbas) criticism as a legitimization of acts."

Despite his protestations, Abbas has specifically called on Arab residents to stop Jews from "defiling" the Temple Mount by "all means necessary," in a call that Palestinian Media Watch reported was given heavy rotation on PA TV, and which bears eerie similarity to former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's call for the 2000 Second Intifada.

Abbas's Fatah faction has also made no efforts to hide its direct calls for terror attacks.

In addition to blaming MKs for visiting the Temple Mount, Cohen said the murder of Jerusalem Arab teen Mohammed Abu Khder in July sparked off the recent wave of terrorism. The central suspect in the murder is psychologically unwell and previously tried to murder his own daughter; reportedly the murder was a response to the murder of three Jewish teens by Hamas terrorists on June 12.