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Anger in Kibbutz as Yaalon Cancels Visit for 'Security Reasons'

Defense Ministry says that Hamas may have been aware of the high ranking visit in real time.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/24/2014, 10:10 PM

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

There is anger in the kibbutz community of Nahal Oz over the cancellation Saturday of a planned visit by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, due to “security considerations.”

The community is grieving after a four-year-old boy, Daniel Tregerman, was killed by a Hamas mortar shell Friday. Amid constant rocket and mortar attacks, on Saturday, a decision was made by the remaining families in the kibbutz to leave it until security is restored.

The Defense Minister and Chief of Staff were visiting the Gaza Belt region and were supposed to visit Nahal Oz, too, when the kibbutz's members was informed that Yaalon and Gantz had changed their plans due to “security considerations” – not the kind of message that civilians on the front line expect to hear from the people in charge of providing them with security.

The Defense Ministry said in response to the criticism that the visit had been planned with the Chief of Staff and his deputy, Major General Gadi Eizenkot. “They visited the Shaar Hanegev region and heard the complaints of the residents, but prior to their visit to Nahal Oz, mortar shells were fired, and this led to the concern that Hamas is aware of the Chief of Staff's presence in the area.

"The courage of Defense Minister, who has been in much more dangerous places during his military service, should not be doubted,” the ministry added.

Many local residents are also angry with Gantz because of his recent speech about a future in which red anemones replace the Color Red sirens, and his call to local residents to return to their homes as the ceasefire talks began. Gantz's optimism proved unfounded and the local residents found themselves under fire again.