Former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday incited hatred against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 21 per cent of Israel's population.
During an interview with the official Kan channel, Ya'alon referred to the unrest and violent attacks on Arab citizens across Israel saying: "If we were not strong, it would be a waste of time, and there would be no Jewish state here."
When asked whether the Arab citizens of Israel would take advantage of Israel's weakness and "slaughter us", Ya'alon replied: "Certainly, I have no doubt about that."
He continued: "If we were not strong, we would not be here."
According to the latest Israeli census, there are 1.9 million Palestinian citizens of Israel who make up approximately 21 per cent of the occupation state's 9.3 million populous.
After the interview, Ya'alon denied on Twitter that he intended to incite violence against the Arab population.
"I can see the way my statements were interpreted as an incitement against the Arabs of Israel, and I am sorry if my words were misunderstood. In the interview I stressed the importance of integrating the Israeli Arabs into Israeli society, and the vast majority of them want this. I made it clear that the government should be working to integrate them," he wrote on Twitter.
He continued: "It is clear that if we were not strong, we would not be able to have agreements with our neighbours, who would have massacred us, as was the case before the establishment of the state."
Many mixed cities, such as Lod, Acre and Jaffa, have witnessed bloody attacks on their Arab citizens over the past few weeks with Israeli security personnel protecting Jewish mobs.