(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The government is at a dead end and an election must come soon, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) said on Saturday.
“After this campaign we must have an election,” Herzog told Channel 2 News’ Meet the Press. “This government failed in every parameter – economically and diplomatically.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at cabinet ministers for speaking publicly against government positions and for allegedly leaking classified information.
“This is a government of tweeters,” Herzog said, mocking ministers’ use of social media. “Stop tweeting, be serious and don’t let information out.”
According to Herzog, Netanyahu strengthened Hamas with every decision instead of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“If we would have strengthened our moderate partner, it would have served Israel’s security interests,” he said.
Herzog said he sees Abbas as an opponent of Israel whose actions do not always match Israel’s interests, but he at least recognizes the state and does not use terrorism as a tactic.
The opposition leader said the best tactic would be to attack Hamas while talking to Abbas.
“I would strike Hamas as if there are no negotiations with Abbas and talk to Abbas as if there were no strikes on Hamas,” he said, paraphrasing a quote from prime minister David Ben-Gurion about working with the British to fight the Nazis despite the formers’ restrictions on Jewish immigration during the Mandate.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), a member of the Security Cabinet, said Saturday that the cabinet is “closer than ever” to authorizing troops on the ground in Gaza.
“That is where things are going because Hamas is continuing its tactic of attrition.
We are continuing to pound Hamas from the air, but it can’t go on for many more weeks,” Erdan explained.
Still, he said the IDF seems to prefer air strikes on targets from which rockets are launched.
“There’s a connection between the IDF’s responses and how close we are to a land operation,” Erdan said.
When Channel 2 News's Meet the Press
host Dana Weiss asked him if the situation was closer to a ground operation than a cease-fire, Erdan answered in the affirmative.
“We can’t go back to a situation of open crossings, so that Hamas can go back to where it was before this operation,” he said.
Erdan added that Hamas “lost a lot of their rocket systems” and expressed hope that all of it will be destroyed.
MK Danny Danon, also from the Likud, advocated stronger action against Hamas.
“After 46 days of attrition and over 4,000 rockets, the time has come to change direction,” Danon stated. “Our hesitation and moderation led to more rockets and injuries.”
“Only defeating Hamas will bring quiet to the residents of Israel,” Danon said.