IDF soldiers walking to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead 311R.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
Israel will “sooner or later” need to launch a large-scale operation against
Hamas in the Gaza Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on
Tuesday, the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.
December 27, 2008, it was the most recent large-scale offensive in
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“I believe that the State of Israel cannot continue to live under
the active threat of Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” Gantz said.
later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation. The IDF
knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against
terrorists in the Gaza Strip.”
The Israel Air Force, working with the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), fired a missile
at Gaza terrorists involved
in recent attacks on Israel, killing one and injuring two others.
other Palestinians were also injured in the attack when the explosion ripped
through their tuk tuk, a motorized rickshaw, according to medics in the
Strip. They were taken to Amal Adwan Hospital in northern
Gaza violence, however, was not the only issue on Gantz’s
Turning to more local matters, Gantz said that in certain
circumstances and during non-official military events, the IDF would be prepared
to exempt religious soldiers from participation if they are uncomfortable
hearing women sing.
Gantz made the comment in an interview with Army
Radio, his first since taking up the top military post in February. Army Radio
hosted the annual “Sherutrom” broadcast, a day-long fundraiser for the
Gantz’s clarification came after a number of incidents when
observant soldiers refused to participate in events featuring vocal performances
by women. Attendance, he said, would however be mandatory at all formal military
“There’s room in the IDF for women to contribute in whatever
way they can and there is no prohibition on women singing,” he said. “Israel and
the IDF need to clarify that the commander is the authority in the military and
whenever it is a formal event soldiers will be obligated to
Gantz also addressed an incident during which he and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak were recorded by journalists cracking a joke about women
serving in the IDF, saying that he believes people understand the difference
between joking and speaking about serious matters.
Gantz said that the
number of women commanders serving in the IDF demonstrated how different reality
is from the situation described in the joke. As an example, he mentioned the
recent promotion of Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai as head of the IDF’s Manpower
Directorate.Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.