MK Shaul Mofaz
MK Shaul MofazIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday demanded the government declare a "special [security] situation" in Israel's south.

Over 200 rockets have been fired at Israel's southern communities since Friday, while IAF retaliatory raids have killed 23 in Gaza.

The committee, headed by Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), also called for an extensive review of operations by the IDF Homefront Command in light of the recent escalation.

Declaring a "special situation" would allow the government to grant to residents affected significant economic assistance designed to help them cope with the disruption of their daily lives. For instance, declaring a "state of emergency" allows parents to remain home with children whose schools are closed without a loss of income.

Mofaz told the committee "Gaza is not a nature reserve, and the terrorist leaders must not feel that safe."

MK Amir Peretz (Labor) hailed the Iron Dome system, which has intercepted 90% of the incoming rockets, but also called for an accounting of the stockpiles used to "replenish" the system.

MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) said that "since Friday the State of Israel has entered a war of attrition."

He called on the IDF to significantly increase the "rate of acquisition" and "review the deployment" of Iron Dome batteries in order to provide complete protections for Israel's southern communities.

Israel has a limited number of Iron Dome batteries at present, though orders for more are expected.

Israel's anti-rocket systems have proven highly effective, but critics say they are expensive to use and do nothing to address the underlying problem – the firing of rockets in the first place.

If Israel were to root out the terror infrastructure in Gaza and Southern Lebanon, they say, Iron Dome would be largely unnecessary.

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said that the government decision not to declare a “special situation” thus far amounted to an “unfair taxation on residents in the South.”