Leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz speaks on February 28, 2019.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of losing Israel’s deterrence to Hamas at a press conference in the Gaza periphery on Friday.
The comments came following rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Thursday that reached Tel Aviv.
“The security agenda is unfortunately being set not by Israel but by Yahya Sinwar and the heads of Hamas,” Gantz said. “Israel must return the initiative to its hands, with tougher policies that will make Hamas want to restore complete quiet.”
He urged Israel to start taking more initiative against Hamas.
“Instead of quiet being met with quiet, attacks have been met with suitcases of money,” Gantz complained. “Netanyahu must keep his promise and end his policies of hesitancy.”
Gantz took questions from journalists for the first time since entering politics on December 27.
Gantz’s press conference was broadcast with a 10-minute delay after the Likud appealed to the Central Elections Committee. A Netanyahu Likud speech last week had a similar delay.
New Right leader Naftali Bennett also attacked Netanyahu’s Gaza policies.
“The Israeli response to the missile attacks on Tel Aviv is pathetic,” Bennett said. “I have to tell the truth – I cannot imagine that after a mistake attack on Moscow, Putin would have explained to the Russians that the enemy ‘did it by mistake.’ I have some news – in order for missiles to be fired at Tel Aviv, someone has to set up a launcher, load the launcher, someone has to direct the launcher, and that someone who does all these things is simply not afraid of Israel, and this is the truth of it.”
Bennett called for completely different policies.
“There can be no more excuses,” he said. “I call on the prime minister to lead a strong campaign against Hamas, and if he does not know how to do it, to give someone else the defense portfolio so that we can finish the job.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman called on Israel to “return to the policy of punishing those responsible.”
The Union of Right Wing Parties called on Israel to back up what it says about terror organizations with “actions” and “return security to the State of Israel.”
Eli Yishai, chairman of the Yahad Party, said in a statement that Netanyahu and the security cabinet must “wake up” to the danger at hand.Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.
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