Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter early on Sunday to thank one of his ministers for "clarifying" a deeply controversial statement regarding an attack on a Palestinian village by Jewish extremists.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a hardline religious nationalist, drew outrage last week by suggesting that a Palestinian village where a deadly terrorist attack took place should be "razed to the ground," even while conceding that it's the government and the military who should be tasked with this, not self-appointed vigilantes.
On Saturday, he clarified that he never meant his words to be taken literally and that they were uttered in the heat of the moment.
Netanyahu thanked Smotrich for "making clear that his choice of words regarding the vigilante attacks on Huwara following the murder of the Yaniv brothers was inappropriate and that he is strongly opposed to intentionally harming innocent civilians."
He added that he was "still waiting to hear a condemnation from the Palestinian Authority for the murder of the Yaniv brothers," the terrorist attack that sparked the vigilante violence later that evening.
Reports said the statement turned Smotrich into a persona non grata in Washington, so much so that he may not be granted entry into the country.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.