Minister of Economics Naftali Bennett traveled to southern Israel on Wednesday, as the region was being bombarded with rockets by Gaza terrorists, to show his support for local residents.
Bennett was accompanied by two members of his Jewish Home party who reside in southern Israel: MK Zevulun Kalfa, and Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman.
He spoke to families in the city of Sderot and heard about the difficulties they face, including the trauma experienced by their children, who are forced to run for shelter as rockets strike the city. More than 50% of children in Sderot suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of more than a decade of rocket attacks from Gaza.
Bennett assured families that the government would do all it can to ensure their safety.
“The policy of Israel’s government is simple – strike fast, and strike hard,” he declared. “Not to allow incidents like this to escalate.”
He warned, “As long as there is no quiet in Sderot, there will be no quiet in Khan Younis” in Gaza. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a similar warning Wednesday, saying, “If there is no quiet in southern Israel, there will be a big noise in Gaza.”
Bennett linked the current situation in southern Israel to the 2005 “Disengagement” withdrawal from Gaza, and to the Knesset’s vote in favor of the National Referendum bill.
“I am happy and proud that today we passed the Referendum Bill in Knesset,” he declared, explaining, “If there had been a national referendum at the time of the Disengagement, it seems those living in the south would not have had to spend the night in bomb shelters.”
“The era of disregarding the nation’s wishes has ended,” he added.
Wortzman called on the government to “send a clear, firm message that terrorist organizations’ attempts to harm Israeli citizens and disrupt their lives will not go without a harsh response.” He expressed his support to both civilians under rocket fire and the soldiers protecting them.
MK Kalfa noted that the IDF can count on public support in its fight against Gaza terrorists. “The IDF and Israel’s leaders know that they’ll have the full support of residents of southern Israel in case of an escalation,” he said, “and that they can do whatever must be done to restore quiet and security.”