Ministers under fire for implying accidents worse than terror

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) sparked fury on Monday after seeming to imply traffic accidents pose a greater risk to Israelis than terror.

In an interview with Army Radio, Erdan said there was no reason to think that the terrorist who carried out Friday’s attack in Tel Aviv was still in the coastal city, rather than in another part of the country.

“There have been a lot of traffic accidents and attacks lately and the state is not supposed to act according to the intentions of the terrorists,” he added.

Bennett, similarly, suggested the “threat of traffic accidents in Israel still far outweighs any security threat that Israel has faced.”

Leftist politicians were quick to attack Erdan and Bennett’s statements, accusing the government of “avoiding responsibility.”

“Naftali Bennett and Gilad Erdan said this morning that more people die from car accidents than terror,” MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) charged. “How exactly is one failure supposed to compensate for the target of personal safety. A responsible government would deal with terrorism as well as car accidents firmly – and not use one failure to justify a second failure.”

Her fellow party member Itzik Shmuli was just as critical, calling their remarks “insanity mixed with hypocrisy, because I doubt ministers say this to their families.”

“Every day Israeli citizens are murdered in the streets and the only thing the government, who has no answers, does is tell them they should take comfort in the fact that their chances of being hurt in a car accident, another result of [the government’s] failure, are higher?”

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, meanwhile, said she found it “heartening that ministers discovered road accidents kill more than terror. Without cynicism. Between 300 to 400 men, women and children are killed in road accidents annually. This is more fatalities than any of Israel’s wars or terror attacks put together.”

“”Do ministers have the intention of starting to deal seriously with this silent killer?” Zandberg posed. “Or, will they only pull it out when there is a screaming failure at dealing with terrorism, when there is a terrorist on the loose sowing fear.”

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