Netanyahu tells IDF recruits that Gaza campaign is ‘test of willpower’

Israel’s prime minister and security minister warn that Hamas is dragging Israel into a broad military campaign.

By: World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted new recruits to the Border Police and the IDF Paratroopers Brigade Thursday morning at the Tel Hashomer induction base in Ramat Gan.

“We are in a campaign,” the prime minister stated in response to a question about Gaza from one of the recruits.

“This entails an exchange of blows, but in the end it is a test of willpower. We are exhausting every possibility, but we are very, very determined to defend our borders. We will do what is necessary to maintain our security, not just for the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, but for the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu told the new recruits that Israel’s defense depended on them.

“We are conducting difficult fronts – both in the south and the north. In the end, the task of defending the borders of the state and the state itself falls on you. We trust you, we believe in you,” he underscored.

The meeting was held after several Hamas attacks at the Gaza border.

Terrorists fired at IDF soldiers from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, moderately wounding an IDF officer. The victim was evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment, where he underwent surgery for his injuries.

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The IDF said that a Palestinian sniper in Gaza fired at IDF troops under the cover of 20 children who were sent towards the border fence as a decoy.

This was the second sniper attack against the IDF in a week. On Friday, Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi was killed while on patrol with the Givati Battalion on the southern Gaza border.

In response to that shooting, IDF tanks and artillery targeted Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip. Five terrorists were reportedly killed in the strikes.

Gaza-based terrorists launched nine rockets at Israeli territory overnight Wednesday, setting off sirens in communities surrounding the Strip. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one rocket, and the rest exploded in open spaces near the border fence.

Quiet was restored to the area, while Hamas, which rules Gaza, threatened to step up its attacks against Israel.

Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, stated Thursday that “Israel will pay in blood for its latest crimes.”

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Edran told Israel Radio Thursday morning that Israel is being dragged into “a broader campaign” against Hamas.

“We are getting closer in big strides because of Hamas to a situation in which the IDF will need to launch a broad operation,” he cautioned.

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Erdan noted that after four years of relative quiet in the wake of Operation Portative Edge in the summer of 2014, “the residents are returning to an intolerable reality, there are sirens at night and children in shelters. If Hamas does not understand from the wave of [Israeli] strikes, we need return to a broad operation that will exact a price, at least like Protective Edge, if not more.”