The security cabinet met Monday for the fourth time in eight days, amid the continuous pounding of the western Negev from the Gaza Strip, the tension in Jerusalem, and rioting in some Israeli-Arab areas.
Though no statement regarding any operative decisions was released after the meeting, Channel 2 reported that there would be a gradual increase of IDF measures on Gaza, until quiet returns. One official said that the call-up of some 1,500 reservists should be seen within the context of “giving the government ready options to meet all contingencies.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in a Channel 2 interview after the security-cabinet meeting that the message to Hamas is that “all options are on the table.” He is a member of the eight-person forum.
The security cabinet also includes Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who just prior to the meeting announced he was splitting his Yisrael Beytenu from the Likud. In recent days Liberman has loudly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for what he views as the government’s weak response to the continued rocket fire from Gaza.
Liberman has advocated retaking the Gaza Strip to “clean out the stables.”
Sources close to Netanyahu said that Liberman’s announcement would not impact on the prime minister’s policies.
“Theoretically, nothing has changed,” one official said. “The government is functioning, and the prime minister will continue with his leadership, which has been judicious. There is a need to think two steps ahead.”
The official said that “even people abroad” – an apparent reference to world leaders with whom Netanyahu has spoken in recent weeks – understand that Israel’s ability to be continually bombarded by incoming missiles is “not limitless.”
And in what could be interpreted as an effort by the Foreign Ministry to prepare world opinion for a wider Israeli action in Gaza, the ministry on Monday released a statement saying that since the June 12 kidnappings of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, close to 200 rockets have been fired at southern Israel from Gaza, “aimed deliberately at civilian targets.”
The statement said that over 25 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
The ministry also released a one-minute video to illustrate what life is like for Israelis in the South. The video shows a group of kids playing soccer on a field. Their game is interrupted by the sound of an air-raid siren. They stop in their tracks, looking afraid, wondering what to do.
“Hamas rockets take 15 seconds to hit Israel,” the subtitle reads. “What do I do now? This is reality for Israelis today.”