Syria Airstrikes Become Campaign Issue

YERUSHALAYIM -

The new Israeli policy of publicly taking responsibility for IDF airstrikes in Syria has become an issue in the Israeli election campaign, as opposition leaders denounced it as politically motivated.

Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni blamed Russia’s demand that Israel halt the attacks on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to depart from the previous standing policy of ambiguity on the raids.

“He breaks the policy of ambiguity out of personal and political reasons, limiting the IDF operations in the northern front,” she charged in a tweet on Wednesday. Presumably, she meant that Netanyahu sought to exploit the airstrikes by taking credit for ordering them, thereby promoting his image as a bold, security-minded leader.

Livni declared that her center-left party “will handle security and political affairs responsibly.”

In the same vein, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said, “After years of quiet and efficient cooperation, Netanyahu’s election campaign has forced the Russians to come out against us in the Syrian arena.”

“The damage of one irresponsible message will take years to correct,” he wrote.

In response, the Likud party cited former Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot’s recent vote of confidence in Netanyahu, and ridiculed Lapid’s own non-combat military record.

“Chief of Staff Eisenkot said in his resignation speech this month there were no political considerations in the prime minister’s decisions,” Likud said in a statement, quoting comments made about the decision to launch an operation to destroy Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon.

“That’s all you need to know about the baseless misrepresentations of Yair Lapid, whose security experience amounts to several articles he published in the [IDF] B’Machane newspaper.”