The Speaker of Israel's parliament, the Knesset has issued a warning about the growth of what he described as "Jewish terrorism" in the occupied Palestinian territory. Reuven Rivlin regards this threat as more dangerous than the threat from Iranian nuclear ambitions and "Arab terrorism". Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the assassination of the former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Knesset Speaker told the audience, "Extremist groups have emerged recently in Israeli society and they exercise violence and fly in the face of the law."
Rivlin later told the Hebrew media that, "The phenomenon known as 'payback' is a Jewish terrorist activity that poses the greatest threat to the vision of the Zionist movement." However, not all Jewish settlers must be blamed for these activities, he added.
Education Minister Gideon Saar called for the elimination of the "Jewish gangs" which carry out the so-called "payback" operations, describing them as a "malignant tumour".
This parliamentary response comes at a time when Jewish settlers have drawn swastikas and written "the payback" on the house of a left-wing Israeli activist in the city of Jerusalem, for the second time in recent weeks. Israel's Peace Now movement said that it holds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for these illegal acts, saying that "the incitement and undermining of the foundations of democracy, which begin in the Knesset, strengthens the extremist groups".