Israeli intelligence sources reportedly believe that Hamas is trying to test the Israeli government in the weeks before the election. Its rocket strikes have left Netanyahu open to criticism.
By World Israel News Staff
Israeli intelligence sources reportedly believe that Hamas is trying to test the Israeli government in the weeks before the election, believing that Netanyahu would be reluctant to engage in a major military encounter as Israelis prepare to cast their ballots.
The prime minister has vowed to act regardless of what the impact might be on his showing on election day as he seeks yet another term in the Prime Minister’s Office.
However, the apparent reluctance of the Israeli government to enter a major campaign, despite Netanyahu stating his willingness to do so, has left his ruling party open to criticism from political opponents.
On Sunday night, concert-goers went running for cover in the town of Sderot, located just a kilometer away from the coastal enclave run by the Hamas terror group, as projectiles hit the region. The Iron Dome air defense system operated well, hitting two missiles, but in one case, shrapnel from one of the interceptors hit an empty building.
Former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who brought down the Israeli government over what he saw as Netanyahu’s mishandling of the Gaza crisis, arguing against limited counter-strikes in favor of a large-scale offensive against Hamas’ terror infrastructure and its leaders, was quick to criticize Netanyahu’s policy after the attack, calling the Security Cabinet a “rubber stamp.”
Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz also blasted the Likud leader. “Netanyahu has failed… and eroded Israeli deterrence,” he tweeted. A former defense minister, Peretz is also a resident of Sderot.
He is credited with having made the decision to opt for investing in the Iron Dome as one of the systems to defend against air attacks. Batteries have been deployed over time in the north, center, and south of the country against rockets from Gaza and Lebanon.
Benny Gantz, leader of the main opposition party, Blue and White, and a former IDF chief of staff, tweeted a video of himself on Sunday in which he lectured Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu, take yourself and travel from Jerusalem to Sderot. Look the residents in the eyes and explain to them why they can’t see a end-of-summer show until the conclusion,” he said. “Deterrence isn’t worn away. It’s completely erased.”
The prime minister and the Likud party may see themselves as vulnerable on the issue of security in Israel’s south. Netanyahu and other senior party officials were quick to say they had plans for a broad offensive a week ago following the last Hamas rocket salvo, which in turn triggered a wave of criticism from Israeli leaders who hope to replace the Likud in September.