Friends and relatives mourn during the funeral of Moshe Agadi, an Israeli man who was killed after a rocket fired from Gaza hit his house, during cross-border hostilities, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon May 5, 2019. .
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Israelis from the South lamented the latest onslaught of rockets from Gaza at Blue and White’s faction meeting in the Knesset Monday.
“We are hostages of a government who doesn’t care about us,” said IDF reserve colonel Lilly Keidar of Ashkelon.
Keidar explained that the government did not designate Ashkelon as a Gaza border town, despite its close proximity to the area and the relatively frequent rocket fire on the city.
“All the residents suffer, but there’s always some kind of political calculation at our expense,” she said.
Nira Shpeck, a resident of Kfar Aza, head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Parents’ Forum and a lieutenant colonel in reserves, spoke of how children suffer under barrages of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s rockets.
“It’s not simple to raise children where we are... We know children who were born into this, for whom red is not just a color and kites are not toys,” she said, referring to the “red alert” rocket sirens and the incendiary kites, balloons and other items launched from Gaza.
Still, Shpeck said, families in the area love where they live and feel they have a role in protecting the country and maintaining Israel’s deterrence.
“Our leaders must protect the sovereignty of our country,” she said.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz opened the meeting by calling on the political level to “imitate diplomatic processes, to harness regional powers and international bodies and not act lazily, so that the next round will be as far away as possible – and if we can, to prevent it entirely.”
The party’s co-chairman Yair Lapid said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “won’t do anything in Gaza. For 10 years, he’s been the prime minister. He won’t solve the situation, so he hides.
“The actions of the Netanyahu government can be summed up in three words: surrender, cowardice, shame,” Lapid said.
Earlier Monday, Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar, who has long had a contentious relationship with Netanyahu, tweeted that “a ceasefire, in the circumstances under which it was reached, brought no achievements to Israel.
“The time between rounds of violent attacks on Israel and its citizens is getting shorter, and the terrorist organizations in Gaza are growing stronger,” he wrote. “The battle was not prevented but postponed.”
In response, a senior Likud source said that Sa’ar “has only one goal: to topple the prime minister.
“The excuses change; the goal does not,” the source added. “He joined the attacks from the Left by Benny Gantz and of [Blue and White MK and former Netanyahu aide] Zvika Hauser, Sa’ar’s follower who deserted to the Left and with whom [Sa’ar] is completely coordinated.”
Sa’ar mocked the widely-reported comment, calling it ridiculous, and saying: “I will continue to express my views on central issues of national importance and fight for them without fear. That is the meaning of the mission given to me by Likud members.”
Meanwhile, Hauser suggested that the unsold Eurovision tickets be distributed to residents of Israel’s South, who suffered from two days of intense rocket fire.
“The Eurovision brought us temporary quiet, and the appreciation of that should be awarded to residents of the South,” Hauser tweeted on Monday. “They pay the price of the government’s policies, which allows time after time attacks on the population and forfeits their security. I call on the culture minister to instruct the KAN public broadcaster to allocate the remaining Eurovision tickets to the residents of the South. Their comfort will bring us a little comfort.”
Many museums and other attractions have offered free entry to residents of the South in recent days.
With just over a week until the first Eurovision shows begin, there are still more than 2,000 tickets available to the two live semi-final shows, on May 14 and 16. There are also thousands of seats still for sale to the six dress rehearsal shows going on all week. The lagging sales have been attributed to the high price of the tickets set by KAN.
A spokeswoman for KAN declined to respond to a request for comment about the suggestion on Monday. Last week, a KAN spokeswoman said she was not concerned about the unsold tickets and that she was optimistic the seats would all be filled by next week.
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