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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Kassams didn't stop Defense Minister Amir Peretz from voting in the Labor Party primary on Monday, even when three rockets slammed into Sderot, not far from the polling station.
One of the three rockets scored a direct hit, damaging a building.
Arriving at the station with his wife, Ahlama, Peretz smiled to the press and said he felt "great and optimistic."
Survey conducted over the weekend showed Peretz in third place, behind former prime minister Ehud Barak and MK Ami Ayalon.
Peretz tried to calm the voters inside the polling station.
"We have been managing [with the Kassams] for seven years," Peretz said. "Hamas needs to understand that we do not intend to compromise and that we will stop [our operations in Gaza] when the rocket fire stops... If there is an answer to terrorism, it is that the State of Israel is alive and breathing and that elections are taking place in Sderot."
Peretz then visited polling stations in Ashkelon and Ashdod, before going to Jerusalem for security consultations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Most of Peretz's day, his staff said, was dedicated to security issues and to overseeing the IDF's operations against Hamas Kassam rocket fire in the Gaza Strip.
While Peretz has announced that he will step down from the Defense Ministry and demand the Finance portfolio even if he wins the primary, it was unclear Monday when he planned to leave his post.
Close associates said that as a result of a deadlock, Peretz could remain in office for up to a month even if he failed to gain reelection, until a new chairman was elected and replaced him at the Defense Ministry.