A Palestinian stone-thrower looks on as he stands in front of a fire during clashes with IDF troops in the West Bank village of Duma.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The current wave of terrorism does not seem to be ebbing, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said at the opening of a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting Monday.
“We don’t see any changes in the wave of terrorism; it is mostly attacks by individuals,” Ya’alon stated. “The wave of terrorism is not dwindling or being curbed.”
The defense minister said the IDF is doing what it can to try to stop the terrorism, but that it is also prepared for an escalation.
Other arenas – the northern and southern borders, Gaza, Sinai – remain quiet, he added.
Ya’alon also addressed haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment, saying that the IDF is likely to reach its target of 2,700 haredi soldiers in 2015 In addition, he said the IDF is opening more mixed-gender combat battalions, because of increased interest by women wanting to be fighters.
Shortening mandatory service for males by four months, and an additional two months in 2020, also contributed to the increase of women in combat units, he explained.
The meeting was the first time Ya’alon spoke to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about matters not related to the defense budget since this year’s election in March.
During a visit to the IDF induction center at Tel Hashomer to mark the November draft cycle, Ya’alon told reporters that “there is hardly a day without a terrorist attack.” He added, “I hope that the Palestinian Authority gets a grip on itself. Beyond the steps it has taken in recent days to take control of rioting on the ground, I hope that it will start condemning the attacks, and cease the blood libels, according to which we allegedly ‘execute’ terrorists who have knives in their hands – and then they even claim that we ‘plant’ the knives afterwards.”
Palestinian incitement is continuing, Ya’alon said. “It threatens them [the PA] and the survivability of the Authority more than us. In the meantime, we are continuing to take many steps. Our beefed-up forces are working day and night, carrying out arrests in certain areas. When an attack occurs, the place where it came from is closed, the village or the neighborhood, and homes are prepared for demolition.”
Asked about Russia’s recent deployment of the advanced S-400 surfaceto- air missile system in northwest Syria, Ya’alon said Russia’s fighter jets and missile systems are “not directed against us” and do no threaten Israel’s freedom of aerial operations. “We act according to our interests; one does not interfere with the other,” he said.
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