“We will settle the account with those who harm our fighters and the citizens of Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated, after an IDF soldier was critically wounded on the border with the Gaza Strip.
Special Forces soldier Barel Hadarya Shmueli was shot by a Hamas terrorist point-blank and was critically wounded in the head during riots on the Gaza border on Shabbos.
On Sunday afternoon, Shmueli underwent another urgent surgery at Be’er Sheva’s Soroka Hospital.
In response, IAF fighters bombed four Hamas targets in Gaza, “an extensive attack in the Gaza Strip” as Bennett termed it.
“Last week, I conducted a situation assessment in the Gaza Division, together with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. I can inform you that the IDF, the Southern Command and the Gaza Division are prepared and ready for any scenario,” he said during the Cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Bennett made the tour after his government failed to respond to a rocket attack on the city pf Sderot.
However, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Bennett’s friend and a member of his party who was elected to the Knesset within the party, resigned and returned to the municipality, responded to the recent events in the south and said that the government’s response is “shameful.”
“A Hamas security man fires point-blank at Shmueli, and critically wounds him and what is your reaction?!?! Shooting at factories and warehouses! Shame! Where are the days that terrorists would pay with their lives for harming civilians and soldiers? Where is the deterrence? Where is the security!?! Wake up from your coma! Do not give immunity to the terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, do not give immunity to the murderers!” he demanded.
Critics say that Bennett is refraining from a serious response out of a desire to prevent further escalation and not to spoil his upcoming meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House later this week.
MK Amichai Chikli, a member of Bennett’s party and a harsh critic of the prime minister, said that the “policy of slogans of ‘we will respond in a place and time that suits us,’ ‘we are not suckers’ and ‘we’re prepared for any scenario’ are costing us blood.”
“Missile fire at Israel must be responded to strongly and immediately, and all the more so for an extremely serious shooting incident on the fence from a civilian population,” he said.