Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office announced on Thursday the cancellation of Bennett's planned visit to the city of Umm al-Fahm, which was scheduled to take place on Friday, together with Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas and the coronavirus czar for Arab society Aiman Saif.

The Ra’am Party said in response, "The visit was postponed at our request following the Memorial Day for the events of October 2000, out of respect for the shaheeds (Arabic for martyrs -ed.) who fell in October 2000, a very important event for the Palestinian people."

The Prime Minister was to visit a vaccination complex at a location of the Clalit Health Fund in the city of Umm al-Fahm and call on the Arab public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Religious Zionist Party attacked Bennett's agreement to cancel his visit, saying, "Prime Minister Bennett cancelled a visit to Umm al-Fahm ‘out of respect for the shaheeds’. How low will we go? We have warned of a complete collapse of values in a government with the Islamic Movement but Bennett's gesture to the October 2000 riots surpasses all imagination. A disgrace."

The chairman of the Otzma Yehudit Party, MK Itamar Ben Gvir, said in response, "Anyone who loves the country and reads the message of terrorist supporter Mansour Abbas cannot remain indifferent and say that there is a man of peace in the government. And it is impossible to digest how the government is headed by a Prime Minister who bows his head in the face of terrorism. Bennett has folded in the face of terrorism and if he is so concerned about the honor of the shaheeds, he should run for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority."

The Likud said, "There is no low point that Bennett will not cross for the sake of his political survival that depends on Mansour Abbas. To cancel a visit because of the ‘memory of the shaheeds’ is a disgrace that will be remembered forever."

The Prime Minister's spokesman, Matan Sidi, clarified that "the postponement of the visit to the vaccine compound in Umm al-Fahm was done in view of anticipated demonstrations, as well as for security reasons. That's the only reason."

The events of October 2000 were a wave of riots by Arabs, during which 12 Arab citizens of Israel and a Palestinian Arab who is not an Israeli citizen were killed, as well as one Israeli Jew who was killed as a result of rock-throwing.