A MORTAR SHELL created this crater in the middle of an alternative medicine center in the Eshkol regional council..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) infuriated residents of Gaza border towns in a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting Tuesday on the IDF’s decision to reduce the soldiers guarding them, by implying that they should not complain about rockets if they were in favor of the Gaza disengagement.
Gaza border residents expressed anguish at the meeting and a feeling that they have been abandoned by the government.
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) expressed support for the residents, saying that a feeling of security is an essential component of actual security.
“The State of Israel abandoned you,” he added.
Committee chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) accused Bar-Lev of bringing election politics into the session, but Yogev interjected, saying that he thinks the IDF units should be brought back to strength.
However, he continued, “If you supported the [Gaza] disengagement, you blew it. It’s hard for me to say, but you blew it.”
The Bayit Yehudi MK later apologized for his statement, saying that no one deserves to have rockets shot at them and recalling that he was partly responsible for NIS 100m.
going to their security.
However, he added, “Gaza turning into Hamastan is the rotten fruit of the disengagement and in the future, this will require the State of Israel to act to eradicate terrorism and defeat Hamas in Gaza in order to defend the border towns and bring back both their security and their feeling of security.”
Eshkol Regional Council leader Haim Yellin called for Yogev to apologize, saying: “Bayit Yehudi reveals its true face anew. Its backwards statements on same-sex marriages, on women in the army, and its lack of shame in blaming the residents of the Gaza border towns for the security situation in the South. Bayit Yehudi became an extreme right-wing party that divides the nation instead of trying to unite it.”
According to Gaza border resident Merav Cohen, “We feel like orphans from the government. Our dialogue with the army is a failure; every sound makes us jump.
What are we asking for? “A weak Gaza border area is a weak Israel,” she added.
“Don’t abandon us, we paid enough.”
“There is a deep crisis between us and the security establishment,” Regional Council Center security coordinator Dubi Dekel said. “A large part of the promises we received weren’t fulfilled to this day. Our feeling of security should not be harmed by budgetary considerations. At minimum, they should bring back the soldiers immediately.”
Another resident, Eliraz Levy, asserted that, “People were killed for no reason! We have a severe crisis of confidence… We have been living under trauma from one round of fighting to the next for 14 years. We barely have a few seconds [after the sirens go off] before each rocket falls.”
Levy called for there to be a comprehensive evacuation plan in case of another round of fighting.
At the meeting’s start, Levin said, in light of recent developments, the committee’s eyes are not just on the South, but also on the North, because enemies of Israel do not go on an election recess, unlike the Knesset.
“Our enemies do not stop planning attacks and do not stop smuggling arms just because we are focusing on other things at the moment. It is the prime minister, defense minister, and the committee’s responsibility to continue taking care of security matters as if there were no election, in order to send a message to the other side that we are on alert and prepared,” he said.