Report shows cabinet face-off between Liberman, Katz

Liberman attacked by ministers during Wednesday's security cabinet meeting for not having operational plan, pandering to right-wing base.

Tzvi Lev ,

Liberman (C)
Liberman (C)
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was repeatedly attacked by other ministers during Wednesday's security cabinet meeting, Hadashot reported.

The meeting of the Political-Security cabinet, in which the ministers discussed the latest escalation in the south, concluded early Thursday morning (Israel time) after about five and a half hours.

According to the report, Liberman had faced off with Housing Minister Yoav Galant and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. The aforementioned duo were angered by Liberman's repeated calls in the press to "hit Hamas hard" despite not having prepared an operational plan.

"We have to strike Hamas hard," said Liberman. Following his remarks, former Southern Command head and Housing Minister Yoav Galant told him that "we understand that you want to come off as the most "right-wing" and "security-conscious. I have no problem now to go to the media and explain the positions of all of us and expose you."

"What exactly is a "strong blow"?" asked Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. "You talk about an attack, a war and occupying Gaza, so say that. You did not bring any proposal to topple Hamas in Gaza."

"I'm not in favor of conquering Gaza," asserted Liberman. "So there's nothing here, you have no plan" shot back Katz.

Liberman has been taking an increasingly hawkish tone towards Hamas recently. Following Tuesday's rocket fire, Liberman made clear that Israel is “not prepared to accept the level of violence that we see week after week…We have exhausted all the options, all the possibilities, and now the time has come to make decisions."

“We must strike Hamas hard, and this is the only way to bring the situation back to normal and lower the violence threshold to 0 or almost 0, or to the level of March 29.”

Anonymous sources in the cabinet attacked Liberman on Wednesday, alleging that his calls to "hit Hamas hard" were nothing more than a ploy to deflect attacks by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

"Liberman is acting cynically and is making political considerations in order to save himself from Bennett's attacks," several cabinet members told Hadashot. "He demands to go 'all the way' because he knows the cabinet will stop him."

The Cabinet had convened after rockets were fired into Israeli territory on Tuesday. One of them, launched towards the sea, fell off the coast of Gush Dan. Another rocket hit a residential building in Be'er Sheva. The family members, who suffered from anxiety, were saved a few moments after the mother rushed her children with her into a bomb shelter.