"I do not condone violence and never have," said MK Miri Regev (Likud) on Thursday morning after calling infiltrators "a cancer in our society" during a violent protest in south Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
She stressed that "the situation on the ground is what provokes violence and rage."
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MKs Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin (Likud) and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) attended a demonstration against the influx of African migrants Wednesday during which 12 were arrested. The suspects were released on bail on Thursday and were placed under house arrest.
Leftist and human rights group accused the MKs of fanning the flames at the protest which ended with the assault of one foreign worker.
Miri Regev and Yariv Levin during the protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch condemned the violence and said, "I call on public officials to show responsibility and not incite, because ultimately we are an entire sector against another sector."
Aharonovitch added, "The Sudanese and Eritreans must be sent back in an orderly fashion because most of them are infiltrators and not refugees."
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin also criticized the MKs. "When the masses are raging, leaders must curb the rage instead of spreading it," he said during a meeting with the US ambassador.
"It's OK to protest and demand a solution from the government but once cannot be dragged into incitement and use words the anti-Semites use against us," he said.
Rivlin said that MK Regev should have demanded the government to form a coherent policy and find solutions for the problem.
On Thursday, Regev explained that her use of the word "cancer" were meant "to illustrate the spread of a negative phenomenon. This is a manifestation of rage that has been unleashed after a long time of people feeling unsafe in their own homes."
Protest in south Tel Aviv (Photo: Yaron Brener)
She further added, "This is a real demographic threat. Israel should adopt the US protocol of returning infiltrators to the border within 72 hours. We need to understand that the residents' lives have become unbearable. Jews and Israelis are scared of living in their country."
The MK slammed leftist "bleeding hearts" and stressed that "charity starts at home."
"With all due respect to the Left and Peace Now – they are the reason that our country is in the state it's in. Because of their High Court petitions we cannot deport all those infiltrators to their countries of origin," she charged.
MK Danon also stressed he did not condone violence. "Violence is not a solution. The real pogrom is the one that happens daily against the residents of south Tel Aviv."
Peace Now: Investigate MKs
Meanwhile, Peace Now Chairman Yariv Oppenheimer has asked the Attorney General to launch an investigation against MKs Regev, Danon and Ben-Ari for incitement to violence.
He quoted the legal definition of racism and claimed that "The MKs' racist calls and incitement to violence were quickly translated into action on the ground." Oppenheimer claimed that many are endorsing his appeal.
MK Danon said in response, "Enough with this self-righteousness. The State of Israel is at war with an enemy state of infiltrators; its capital is south Tel Aviv. The solution to all the negative things they bring with them is immediate deportation, before it's too late."
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