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      Mayors and MKs Slam 'Terror Disruptions'

      Israel's mayors say the current terror wave is disrupting daily life, while MKs charge the government isn't doing anything to end the threat
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/15/2012, 2:12 PM

      Barkat at Terror Scene (Archive)
      Barkat at Terror Scene (Archive)
      Kobi Gideon / Flash90

      Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded to Thursday's stabbing of a female soldier on Jerusalem's light rail saying terrorists are seeking to disrupt Israeli life.

      "I regard this attempt to disrupt life in Jerusalem with great gravity. Routine events in Jerusalem will continue as planned, and the light rail will continue to operate and serve all residents, Jews and Arabs," Barkat said.

      "I urge residents to continue their daily routines and to remain alert. Security for the light rail is done in collaboration with police and security forces, and in accordance with their respective directives. Railway guards are deployed in the cars, and railway stations, and patrol activity along the tracks to ensure the safety and security of passengers," he added.

      MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu) said she had warned security problems would arise.

      "Two months ago, I warned about the danger of the train's route entering Arab villages. We have to wait for casualties for our leaders to wake up?"

      MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said the stabbing underscored that Israel's security officials are ignoring the rising tide of terrorism directed at Jewish Israelis.

      "I'm pointing my finger at the Minister of Public Security Aharonovitch," Ben-Ari said. "[He is] sweeping Arab terrorism under the carpet. Instead of addressing the problem, he claims it's 'just bullying.'"

      "We've had lynchings in Ramla and Haifa, the Nahariya attack, seven days of rockets, and now this stabbing of a soldier - that is terrorism and hooliganism," Ben Ari said.

      MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) said the rising tide of terrorism stemmed from the "weakness" of the Netanyahu government.

      "The Arabs repeatedly seek to cause us harm by taking advantage of the weak government," Katz said.

      Meanwhile, Mayor Rubik Danilovich of Beer Sheva ordered the city's schools closed after a Grad rocket slipped past Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system and slammed into the city near a school.

      Danilovich's decision came on the seventh day of continued rocket fire on Israel's southern communities, and overrode a "green light" from the IDF Home Front Command saying children should return to school after a theoretical cease-fire was declared with the Gaza terror gangs late Monday evening.

      The "green light" from the Home Front Command came after Israelis in the south spent four days in bomb shelters due to heavy rocket fire.

      MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) complimented Danilovich on he decision to cancel classes saying the HFC directive was "irresponsible."

      "It is shameful and disturbing to learn the Home Front Command relies on 'understandings' with the Arabs and the 90% interception rate of Iron Dome," Eldad said. "Danilovitch is leading the refusal of southern mayors to gamble with the lives of the children in their schools and is not ready to rely on promises from Arab terrorists."

      "He understands that only a significant show of deterrent power make them stop trying to kill Israeli civilians in their homes," Eldad added.

      Eldad's statements were a rejoinder to criticism of the Iron Dome system that, despite its high success rate, it does nothing to address the underlying problem of rockets being launched in the first place.

      Critics have long maintained that Israel's airstrikes-for-rockets strategic posture vis-a-vis Gaza has only served to perpetuate the poor security conditions endured by Israel's southern residents.

      Recently, IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz called for a major ground operation in Gaza aimed at rooting out the terror infrastructure there. Several senior generals have described such an incursion as “inevitable” in recent months.

      In making the call, Gantz joined his predecessors, Shaul Mofaz, Dan Halutz, Moshe Yaalon, and Gabi Ashkenazi. Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch has also called for a ground incursion into Gaza.

      Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009), while broadly considered a tactical victory for Israel, fell short of actually stopping rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza.