Aryeh Deri
Aryeh DeriOlivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri opened his party's meeting today (Monday) by referring to the cabinet discussions about the fighting near the Gaza Strip.

"We are over two weeks after the terrible terrorist attack we went through. We must tell the truth, no one was prepared for this. No one was prepared for such a terrible disaster, the large volumes of the murdered and kidnapped, and a very difficult struggle on several fronts," said Deri.

He added, "It took time because we had to deal with hundreds of despicable murderers who continued to roam freely, and we had to regain control of the area. It was not easy. These are individuals in very large areas. Control was achieved thanks to supreme acts of heroism by heroes who did holy work with dedication and at great cost completed difficult tasks."

Deri also emphasized that before the war there was no plan to destroy Hamas. "From that moment on, we had to prepare for the real war, the goal of which is agreed upon by all is that Hamas does not remain in existence - neither from a governmental point of view nor from a military point of view. Here, too, we have to say honestly, there was no such plan. It is being prepared during the battle. It is not currently extant. It is not that the army is ready and the political echelon only needs to make decisions."

The Shas chairman noted that there are no tensions between the political echelon and the security establishment. "I hear about tensions that supposedly exist between the political echelon and the army or between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense - there have never been such things. There is a war cabinet with people who have a lot of experience. The discussions are very matter-of-fact. They listen and come to decisions after hearing the military personnel and all the factors. There is no tension and no distrust."

Referring to the civilians and their special needs during the war, he said: "Even on the civilian front, it took some time, in light of the problematic situation. And yet the organization was immediate. I see and hear that the social offices that Shas is in charge of are doing their job very well. The ministers attack the task and try in every way to find solutions to the needs of the citizens, as do the members of the Knesset and all the office bearers. The Treasury and other government ministries are also doing everything to give the best answer. These are huge sums, but in war, you don't do calculations."

According to him, "There is a very long campaign ahead of us. Very challenging. We are surrounded by enemies from every direction, it is not easy. We do not want to open additional fronts. Our main mission is in Gaza, but we are ready for any scenario. The IDF is also working hard in the West Bank to prevent an escalation there. We are constantly thinking about the captives. Soldiers, children, young people and the elderly. Everyone knows what our tradition states about saving lives. Our goal is to defeat terrorism in Gaza and return the captives."

"Don't be jealous of the decision-makers. I have accompanied the cabinet for decades and I have never encountered such a scale of confrontations and challenges. I am happy that a national emergency government has been established and I think that everyone should join us. The people of Israel in Israel and in the world are under threat. We need to increase our prayers and good deeds and love for one another. It warms my heart to see all the volunteer organizations from all sectors that work for the community. I hear a lot of words of praise about ZAKA, the angels in white that are so appreciated, and there are many other organizations. These are the beautiful faces of the people of Israel," concluded Deri.