Mofaz northern border 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sounded a militant tone during a Sunday visit to the rocket-plagued south, with Chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) warning that “Israel cannot hide behind an Iron Dome – everybody who harms our children must bear the consequences.”
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Following the recent increase in rocket fire in the south, the committee decided to hold a last-minute meeting in Beersheba, together with mayors of southern towns impacted by the rocket fire.
Mofaz said that the committee had come to show support for local government leaders “who are coping with the helplessness being demonstrated by the state of Israel.”
“The government’s policy is an incorrect one that has harmed Israel’s deterrence, which has declined since Operation Cast Lead,” Mofaz complained. “It is the terror organizations that have determined the quality of life in Israel in the most recent round of conflict.”
Beersheba Mayor Rubi Danilovich told MKs that “it is impossible to continue to live in uncertainty and to maintain a routine when at any given moment a rocket could land on us. No country can accept this situation – it is impossible to gamble on residents’ lives.”
Danilovich said that he welcomed the government’s decision to deploy the Iron Dome rocket defense system in the south, but added that he understood that even the cutting-edge system “is not a hermetic seal.” MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) described it as a “error” that more Iron Dome batteries were not deployed to offer coverage to a larger area.
“Hamas is developing in Gaza the offensive abilities of a military organization and the State of Israel cannot allow itself a situation like this. It cannot be that the state does not manage to find NIS 40 million in funding which could solve the entire problem of defense,” Dichter continued.
Danilovich’s colleague, Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malcha told the committee that he had a specific fear – that 70 tons of ammonia are currently being stored in the city. “If one rocket hits the containers, half of the city disappears. I was promised that they would be secured, but nothing has been done.”
“I believe that the best defense is offense, but if there isn’t an offensive, then at least offer defense,” complained MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union). “While we argue about the nature of our response, armored trucks continue to shuttle money to Gaza from Israel.”