Bennett plan to act against tunnels rejected

Education Minister reportedly demanded that Israel take action against Hamas's terror tunnels, but Netanyahu and Ya'alon refused.

Ido Ben Porat,

Bennett and Netanyahu
Bennett and Netanyahu

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) demanded during  a recent meeting of the Security Cabinet that Israel initiate action against Hamas’s terrorist tunnels which lead into Israel, Channel 2 News reported on Monday.

According to the report, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon rejected Bennett’s proposal. The two later publicly said that "on this matter we must exercise judgment and responsibility" and equated such action to attacking Hezbollah missiles or Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Bennett's office refused to comment on the report, while the Prime Minister’s Office reacted angrily and said, "We do not comment on any Cabinet discussions and on the IDF's operational plans in particular. All ministers should show they are responsible and not try to gather votes using superficial political briefings, which do not reflect the depth and responsible Cabinet discussions."

The topic of Hamas's terror tunnels has come back in the spotlight in recent weeks, after three tunnels collapsed in the last two weeks killing 11 Hamas terrorists. Palestinian TV on Wednesday allegedly showed footage of IDF machinery searching for tunnels under the Gazan border.

According to some estimates Hamas has succeeded in again digging tunnels into Israeli sovereign territory, and Israeli officials have sought to play down fears from residents in southern Israel who say they have heard Hamas diggers underneath their homes.

Last Thursday, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira sent Netanyahu, Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot a draft of his report on Israel’s handling of the tunnel threat.

The report found serious defects in the way the Security Cabinet and Netanyahu prepared for and dealt with the tunnel threat, which was used by the terrorists to lethal effect in 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Several of the failures in confronting the tunnel threat were extremely severe, according to the report.