Gantz: Coronavirus crisis will last at least another year

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits future site of IDF intelligence directorate base, warns Hamas against further rocket attacks.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Benny Gantz at Likit
Benny Gantz at Likit
Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry

Israeli Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz visited Likit Monday morning, touring the area where a number of IDF bases will be built, as part of a comprehensive plan to relocate Israeli military facilities from central Israel to the south.

During the visit, Gantz met with municipal leaders from towns in the area, along with the program director in charge of the Defense Ministry’s plan to relocate IDF facilities to the south, Itzik Cohen.

Cohen discussed the key aspects of the project, which includes the planned relocation of a large number of units of the IDF Intelligence Directorate from bases in central Israel - which will be closed down and turned into residential or commercial space - and transferred to new army facilities in the Beersheba area of the Negev.

“The IDF – including the Chief of Staff and the Chief of the Intelligence Directorate, whom I spoke with – myself, and the entire defense establishment see the Negev as the proper place for us to expand to,” said Gantz.

Gantz said the move would give the Intelligence Directorate room to expand, while also advancing the “national project of developing the south.”

Gantz also discussed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, calling the recent spike in hospitalizations part of a “health crisis” which has created an “economic and social crisis”.

“Israel is dealing with a health, economic, and social crisis, and it is going to continue for at least another year, until we can find effective treatments. After this, I’m going to a government meeting. We expect further moves [by the government], and there is no doubt that given the worsening of the latest wave of infections and illness that we’ll have to intensify the restrictions, while working to maintain a balance between preserving health and the economy.”

Turning to the recent spate of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the Defense Minister said Israel “would not remain silent in the face of attacks on its security and sovereignty”.

“We say to the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip: we have only two interests in the Gaza Strip: returning our boys, and maintaining a quiet security situation. If that [quiet] is ended, then anything is possible.

If the rocket fire won’t end “and if they continue to fire, the IDF’s response will be powerful.”