Israel needs 'strong, disciplined' IDF, Lapid says after Gaza strikes

Following the security assessment, the prime minister stressed that the outgoing Israeli government is "fully backing" IDF soldiers at home and abroad.

ׂ(L-R) IDF chief-of-staff Aviv Kohavi seen with Prime Minister Yair Lapid on December 4, 2022 (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
ׂ(L-R) IDF chief-of-staff Aviv Kohavi seen with Prime Minister Yair Lapid on December 4, 2022
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid held a situational assessment in the West Bank on Sunday evening with top military officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, following the Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

The Saturday night strikes targeted a workshop for producing weapons belonging to Hamas and were in response to earlier rocket fire from the Strip into southern Israel.

Israel needs a "strong, disciplined military with a clear chain-of-command that operates only by the law," Lapid said after the situational assessment. "This is the secret to our strength, this is what forged the IDF's might."

Security forces will respond to every rocket fire from Gaza, Lapid said in a warning to terrorist groups in the Strip. "The IDF is operating in a multi-theater reality which demands grueling effort from our security forces every day...[but] the era of tolerance for rockets is over."

 Smoke and flames rise during an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2022 (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS) Smoke and flames rise during an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2022 (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Israeli forces also operated in the West Bank late Saturday night and arrested seven Palestinians wanted in connection to terrorism operations.

These arrests were conducted as part of the "extensive and determined" Operation Break the Wave, which "boasts many achievements," Lapid said. 445 significant terror attacks, including over 300 potential shootings, have been thwarted by Israeli security forces since the beginning of the year, the prime minister noted.

Lapid stresses soldiers have gov't backing amid Hebron controversy

Following the security assessment, Lapid also stressed that the outgoing Israeli government is "fully backing" IDF soldiers. 

"We will not allow for our soldiers to be probed by foreign entities nor will we accept the defamation of IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police personnel who risk their lives to protect Israel and its citizens," the prime minister said. 

However, Lapid did say that soldiers will receive the political echelon's backing as long as they "adhere to the law and his orders." Last week, five IDF soldiers were suspended after two beat a left-wing activist in Hebron, a punishment protested by incoming national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. 

"You protect us, but we are also protecting you," Lapid said, in a message to soldiers.