Election 2013: No One to Demand Security for South
The Photoshopped image below, circulating on Facebook, is a bitter expression of Israelis' frustration with the government's inability to end the non-stop attacks on Israel's southern cities and towns. It shows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with his famous "bomb" chart at the United Nations, but instead of delineating the point at which Iran's nuclear program must be stopped, it informs Hamas that it may fire rockets on Israel's southern cities with impunity, drawing the red line only at rockets that target Tel Aviv.
The bitterness is probably understated, given that Israel seems to be the only country in the world that is under severe and incessant rocket fire from a neighbor, for years on end.
And yet, the matter does not appear to be an election issue in the current campaign, despite the fact that Israel possesses the military might to annihilate the threat, if it chooses to do so.
In 2006, Likud's election slogan was "Netanyahu: Strong Against Hamas." This was shortly after the 2005 "Disengagement," as Israel named its unilateral retreat from Gaza. Likud under Binyamin Netanyahu attempted to persuade voters that it would be tougher than Kadima, the party of the Disengagement, in dealing with the terror organization, which had not yet taken control of Gaza.
Six years later, in 2012, Hamas controls Gaza, the rockets keep on hitting Israeli civilians, yet it seems that there is no party to the right of Likud, to demand that Netanyahu be "tough against Hamas."
Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu is a member of the Netanyahu coalition and will not be taken seriously if it tries to accuse the government of weakness vis-à-vis Hamas. Lieberman, who has been Foreign Minister for almost four years, could have mounted a campaign to change the way Gaza is treated during this time, but did not do so.
The National Union may challenge Likud from the right – but only if it does not unite with the Jewish Home, which is moderate on security matters, and is also a member of the government. If the two parties run in a united list, as their heads say they intend to, it will be hard for the list to convincingly demand tougher action against Hamas.
This month alone, Gaza terrorists have launched 71 rockets at Israeli population centers in the south of the country, according to the count at Elder of Zion blog. This year, Israeli civilians have had to face 640 rockets, and the total since 2001 is 15,641.