Orit Strock
Orit StrockOren Ben Hakoon/Flash90

At the cabinet meeting today (Sunday), Orit Strock, Minister for Settlement and National Missions, queried IDF representative to the cabinet, Major General Eliezer Toledano, why weapons given to first response teams in Judea and Samaria are being taken away from them.

Major General Eliezer Toledano responded: "Some of the reservists are being released, and some of them have served in Judea and Samaria, and when they are released, they must deposit their weapons. So, there are fewer weapons in the regional defense area of Judea and Samaria. We can’t have the reservists on unlimited duty."

Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir said: "We must coordinate these moves so that the number of weapons in Judea and Samaria does not decrease. This is not synchronized with the Ministry of Defense." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed Strock and said: "This is an issue that must be dealt with. We must arm more people."

Economy Minister Nir Barkat said, "We must not repeat the events of October 7th. We must change our perception. The scenario we are referencing since that day is the occupation of communities in Judea and Samaria, as they did to us in the communities surrounding Gaza. We must prepare in a completely different manner. There is a feeling that some fell asleep on guard and are stuck on the October 6th." Netanyahu added: "We must equip ourselves with an air force that can quickly intervene in any incident."

Barkat replied: "I agree. We must prepare for a possible scenario of a major attack and the invasion of an Israeli town in Judea and Samaria or nearby cities, and not for an individual attack. At the same time, we must prepare with means that were not readily available on October 7th, such as combat helicopters. The events of October 7th must not happen to us in Judea and Samaria."

Earlier, Minister Barkat commented on the economic perspective: "We need 170,000 foreign workers. On the one hand, we said that we would not bring in Palestinian workers, but on the other hand, the Ministry of Finance is preventing the entry of foreign workers from other countries. The entire industry has been stuck for three months because of the negligence of the Treasury."

Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs asked why there is no dialogue between the ministries. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich replied: "We will convene the economic cabinet at the beginning of next week."

Barkat: "The Israeli economy cannot be dependent only on Palestinian workers. It cannot be that after the economic cabinet decides to ban the entry of Palestinian workers and bring in workers from other countries – the Ministry of Finance decides to behave differently. Why do we need a cabinet at all? After all, this is a cabinet that is not listened to. Decisions are made, and nothing happens. What are we, a puppet government?"

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said: "The Ministry of the Interior is also involved and wants to promote bringing in foreign workers."

Barkat added: "Entire branches of the economy will not survive without working hands. We must immediately bring in foreign workers from other countries to replace the Palestinians."