Former general Yoav Galant addresses a political gathering in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: NURIT ZATLAWI)
Three self-styled candidates for defense minister – Koolanu’s No. 2, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett – on Saturday slammed the current holder of the portfolio, Moshe Ya’alon, for his handling of Operation Protective Edge.
Speaking at a campaign event in Rishon Lezion, Galant said: “In war, we have to win. We can’t live with a tie. The public needs to think who it wants to lead the fighting – he who proved he knows how to win, or those who hesitate and lack courage and leadership,” he said, accusing Ya’alon of lacking creativity.
The Koolanu candidate criticized Ya’alon for taking pictures in the terrorists’ tunnels into Israel, instead of acting to eliminate them, adding, “I cannot accept that a government in Israel allows 30 tunnels to be dug leading to preschools.
“We’re talking about 50 days of rockets on Tel Aviv and the South,” he pointed out. “When I was OC Southern Command, [Operation Cast Lead] took half the time, and without Iron Dome. Today, it would take me even less time.”
Galant vowed that, under his stewardship, “the next battle in Gaza will be much shorter and will have much higher-quality results.
Hamas isn’t as tough as the Red Army, like they told you.”
As for Liberman’s demand to be defense minister, Galant said that, “in such a sensitive issue like defense, it would be appropriate for someone who understands the area to deal with it, and Liberman does not understand it.”
That did not prevent Liberman from saying at an event in Beersheba that another battle with Hamas is only a matter of time, because Israel’s response is not good enough.
“It cannot be that every two years we need another military operation.
If we want to change that so we can live here quietly, we need to change the balance of fear with our enemies. We need to make it clear to them that anyone who acts against us won’t find himself underground in a bunker, but underground in a grave,” Liberman declared.
As for the way Israel responded to an attack from Hezbollah on the northern border two weeks ago, Liberman said: “We should have responded the way Jordan did to Islamic State.”
As for Iran, Liberman said he does not trust people who talk, and that talking is just political, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Whoever talks does not act,” he stated. “When [former prime minister Menachem] Begin decided [to bomb a reactor in Iraq] there weren’t any leaks or chatter. We woke up one morning, and it wasn’t there.
Talking is unnecessary.”
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said, “Hamas is Gaza, Gaza is Hamas” at a parlor meeting shown on Channel 2 News.
Bennett vowed that “when [Hamas] shoots at homes in Israel, we will destroy their infrastructure right away.”
When asked why the government hadn’t already done so, Bennett said: “Bayit Yehudi needs more seats; we only had 12.”