Poll: Only 8 percent of Israelis think gov't is doing enough to combat terrorism

Gideon Sa’ar: Security forces failing, haven’t been given ‘clear goals’

March 10, 2016 21:54
2 minute read.
Terror Israel

Security forces shoot, kill suspected terrorist in thwarted knife attack in West Bank. (photo credit: screenshot)

Eight percent of Israelis are satisfied with what their government is doing to fight terrorism, according to a Panels Research poll taken for the Knesset Channel poll that was broadcast on Thursday.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said the government was not doing enough, and 15% did not know or declined to answer the poll, which was taken on Wednesday and Thursday, following a spate of Palestinian attacks.

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Asked if they would favor expelling the families of terrorists, 63% said yes, 25% no, and the rest did not know or declined to answer in the poll of 500 people representing a statistical sample of the Israeli population. The survey has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

Former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar, who was a member of several security cabinets, tweeted that “the illusion of containment extended Operation Protective Edge [the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2014] to 50 days and the current intifada to more than five months.”

Sa’ar, who teaches at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and will be speaking at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on May 22, wrote that without changing the rules of the game, there is no hope that the violence will stop.

In an interview with Army Radio, he suggested taking action against more than 1,000 Palestinian workers who are in Israel illegally, expelling inciting imams to the Gaza Strip, building more homes for Jews in Jerusalem, and changing the terminology of the conflict.

“It’s not a struggle of lone wolves or individuals but a 100-year conflict over land, and they must lose,” Sa’ar said. “It won’t end if the other side doesn’t realize it lost.”

He complained that the government was not giving security forces “clear goals” to accomplish in order to end the current wave of terrorism.

“It seems that the handling [of the security situation] has not been successful, and up to this point, has been quite a failure. Let’s first state things clearly, and then perhaps we can get to a better place.”

Sa’ar said that he, like many Israelis, had voted for the Likud and Netanyahu for security reasons. “As far as results and actions are concerned on the security front in the last six months, we are not seeing it,” he said.

The Likud dismissed Sa’ar’s criticism, issuing a scathing attack on the man who was once second on the party’s Knesset candidates list behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The party described Sa’ar as a man who has “absolutely no security experience, and who has never in his life taken operational decisions, but to spout nonsense from the living room at his house in Tel Aviv on the security situation, as if he understands the considerations of the political echelon – that doesn’t cost any money.”

The party said that the government was taking “unprecedented steps” against terrorism. “The IDF, the Shin Bet, the police and all of the security forces are working diligently with the support of the political echelon. All the rest is nonsense from politicians looking for votes.”

Sa’ar wrote on Twitter that “responding hysterically to professional criticism is not the solution to terrorism.”

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