Poll: Despite Operation, Israel’s Southern Residents Don’t Feel Safer

Yerushalayim -
An Israeli Iron Dome air defense system missile is seen intercepting rockets fired from Gaza over Sderot, southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The majority of Jewish residents of southern Israel do not feel more confident about the security situation in the wake of Operation Black Belt, the major November campaign against Islamic Jihad, a poll Wednesday shows. The poll, published in Ha’aretz, says that 63% of residents who live within 40 kilometers of the Gaza border fence did not feel any increase in security.

The centerpiece of Operation Black Belt was the elimination of top Islamic Jihad terrorist Abu Alata, and the destruction of much of the infrastructure of that terror group’s operations in Gaza. Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns, garnering the massive Israeli response. After the operation, Israeli officials said that Islamic Jihad had been decimated, and as the terror group had been responsible for much of the rocket fire in recent months – with Hamas unable to control Islamic Jihad – the operation was likely to lead to fewer rocket attacks.

Indeed, in the weeks since the operation ended, there have only been a few rocket attacks, with each one met by a massive Israeli retaliation. Despite that, two thirds of residents of the south said in the poll that nothing substantial had changed in the security situation – with 27% feeling even less safe after the operation. Just 10% felt safer, the poll showed.

A total of 450 rockets were fired at Israel during the days of the operation, 90% of which were destroyed by Iron Dome defensive missiles. Over 750 Red Alert sirens went off during the three days of the operation.