Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, visited the city of Ashdod on Sunday. The city has been a target for countless Gaza missile attacks.
Bennett spoke with the press after meeting the city’s mayor and some local residents, and called on the Israeli government to topple the Hamas government. The interview literally took place under fire: As Bennett was speaking to the camera, a siren sounded in Ashdod and a missile fell on the city several moments later.
“The main impression from the past few days is that, across the wall, the public is willing to sit in shelters, is willing to absorb the rocket and the damage to quality of life, just so this whole thing comes to an end,” Bennett said. “And the only end is to topple Hamas and to put an end to this endless ping pong game.
“The public is telling the Prime Minister, ‘You have the credit. You have the rope, just finish this,’” Bennett said. “Topple Hamas, create a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza; don’t let anymore missiles come in.”
According to Bennett, “They’ve got us accustomed for too many years to the fact that there’s nothing to do, that we have to live with terrorism, and go through another round and then another one. I don’t accept that. Terrorism can be beaten. We had a similar situation in Judea and Samaria in 2002. They killed 1,600 Israelis until we decided that enough is enough and we beat the Palestinian Authority. That’s what we now have to do in Gaza. I don’t accept the saying that there’s nothing to do. There is something to do. Beat Hamas, isolate Gaza from Egypt so no more weapons go in. It’s a political decision, not a military decision. It must be done immediately.”
In an Israel Channel 2 TV interview Sunday night, Bennett gave the identical and unequivocal message. A native English speaker, he has been interviewed for BBC and other English speaking media abroad and has done the same.