(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel should have continued Operation Protective Edge and brought Hamas to its knees, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu), who is a member of the security cabinet, said Saturday at a cultural event in Beersheba marking the end of the 50-day Gaza operation.
Aharonovich opposed the open-ended cease-fire that ended the operation, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not bring it to a vote.
"We had wide support from the international community," Aharonovich said. "I thought we needed to finish the job. We were on the cusp of defeating Hamas." Aharonovich said he was not optimistic about the cease-fire lasting. He said Netanyahu had received the endorsement of the security cabinet to respond to any rocket or mortar fired from the Gaza Strip.
Addressing the recent government decision to allocate more funds to the defense budget, he said that while the operation needed to be paid for, slashing the budgets of welfare, education and internal security was not the way to go about it. On Islamic State he said the group was "not a threat to Israel" and that if it became one the IDF "would know how to handle it." Aharonovich also talked about the political climate in the country following the cease-fire that went into effect in the last week of August, and said that while elections were still far away, he thought his party would get stronger in the next race and that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman would rise to the top of the political pyramid. "Avigdor is a leader and will be the next prime minister," he said.