Israeli residents in south rage at government paralysis: ‘We’re sick of restraint’

Protesters in Sderot demand a unity government because “80,000 residents are worth the effort.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Angry over government inaction, residents in the Western Negev began a planned string of protests on Sunday in Sderot to bring attention to their plight living under the constant threat of rocket attacks, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

The straw that seemingly broke the camel’s back was the Friday launch from Gaza of three rockets that the Iron Dome missile defense system shot down.

Even though it was pouring rain at the city entrance, dozens of families came to show both their defiance of terrorism and their fury with the government’s “paralysis” when it comes to protecting them.

They waved Israeli flags, danced and sang songs that declared, “They will not break us, they will not get rid of us, this is our home.”

And they had an unequivocal message to the leaders of the parties that have yet to agree on a unity government.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White chairman MK Benny Gantz, and all the rest of you party leaders, wake up!” Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi declared. “Only a wide-ranging operation in Gaza will bring quiet and security to Sderot and the ‘envelope.’ Get it together, unite, and establish an emergency government! The lives of 80,000 residents are worth this effort on your part!”

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“We’ve had it,” Rachel Ifergan told Israel Hayom. “The powerlessness, the paralysis that has struck the government, also because of the issue of the elections – it’s hurting us and turns us into a shooting gallery. We’re sick of the policy of restraint.”

Davidi also called for IDF troops to enter Gaza and eradicate its Hamas rulers in August, when the shrapnel of three rockets destroyed by the Iron Dome projectiles damaged several buildings and homes in his town.

“There is no choice,” he said at the time, because “the culture of this organization is one of bringing death to the region.”

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett met in Sderot with the heads of the local authorities and residents Sunday night. His words reflected his agreement with the mayor’s sentiments.

“Our enemies have become accustomed to firing towards the State of Israel. We need to change that,” he said.

“We need to move from defense to offense,” he said. Broadly hinting that the IDF would act when it has the element of surprise, he added, “We’ll act at the right time and with force. A good ruse is served cold, not when the blood is boiling and the other side is waiting for it.”

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What that apparently means for the south is that they will have to wait some more before they’re demands will be satisfied.