Skip to main content

Israel's ruling right hunts for scapegoats in West Bank attacks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had attacked his opponents for not doing enough against Palestinian terrorism, but his own government is now failing to curb a wave of attacks in the West Bank.
HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images

TEL AVIV — With 35 Jewish victims of attacks by Palestinian assailants less than eight months into the year, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising to be one of the worst in Israeli history in terms of its counter-terrorism performance. In 2022, under the center-left government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, 34 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks over the entire year. 

The 35th victim was Bat-Sheva Nagari, a kindergarten teacher and mother of three. She was murdered on Monday by two Palestinian gunmen who fired more than 20 rounds at her car as she traveled from the West Bank settlement where she lived. The driver was badly hurt in the attack. Nagari’s 12-year-old daughter, who was also in the car, was physically unhurt. 

This latest wave of attacks is infuriating the more than 2 million Israelis who voted last year for the ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties comprising the current government. Netanyahu is in an embarrassing bind. 

Throughout the 18 months of the Bennett-Lapid government, Netanyahu frequently attacked it for incompetence on terrorism and blaming its political cooperation with the Islamist Ra’am party of Mansour Abbas. From the opposition benches, Netanyahu repeatedly promised to wipe out terrorism as soon as he returned to power. Terror smells weakness, Netanyahu repeated at every opportunity, adding that only a strong government can strike fear in the hearts of terrorists.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.