(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) unleashed a new attack on Israel’s right-wing government on Wednesday, accusing its “macho” ministers of incompetency that allows Hamas to operate freely in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas had a miracle,” Herzog said during a visit to the Eshkol region where a Hamas infiltration tunnel dug from Gaza was uncovered recently for the first time since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
“The ‘Benjamin Naftali Smotrich’ government let [Hamas] operate freely in Gaza. The machismo cabinet is strong on Twitter and weak against Hamas,” he said in reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with national-religious Bayit Yehudi party members – Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Bezalel Smotrich.
Hamas “claimed control and also received the freedom of operation that harm our sovereignty,” he charged.
During his visit to the Gaza-border community, Herzog also met with the widow of Ze’evi Etzion, who was killed in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
“We came to support the residents who face the reality of a pastoral area on the ground and an unending threat beneath it,” he asserted.
Herzog, who has been trying to move his party to the center, came under fire last week for remarks he made about shifting Labor away from the image that it is made up of “Arab lovers.”
His rival for the Zionist Union leadership, MK Erel Margalit, blasted him in an interview on the Knesset Channel on Wednesday that was conducted by Israel Radio political correspondent Yoav Krakovsky. He said the party needed to offer potential voters hope and strength.
Margalit vowed to build the party by taking support from Yesh Atid and other parties.
“We will take Lapid’s votes away, even in the center of the country,” Margalit said. “We will take centrist voters away from fad parties that will go out of style. In the end there are two main parties, like Pepsi and Coke: Likud and Labor. If you want Netanyahu, vote Likud. If you want to replace Netanyahu, come to Labor. We will be one big camp, bringing in new voters from across the country and across the political spectrum.”