Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked Kfir Bolotin

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) took part Monday in the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s (ICT) 17th annual international conference, hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and addressed the long-term security and geopolitical challenges faced by Israel.

Among the chief security issues confronting the Jewish state, Shaked stated, are the Hamas terror group in Gaza and the “Shi’ite bloc” extending from Iran to Syria and Hezbollah-dominated areas in Lebanon.

“In the south there is a terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip and, unfortunately, is continuing to arm itself,” said Shaked. “The civilian population there is living in a terrible situation. The Hamas organization invests hundreds of millions of shekels on weapons intended to expand [Hamas’] military capabilities. And that [military] expansion comes at the expense of [Gaza’s] civilians.”

“In the north, the Shi’ite bloc from Iran to Syria extending up to the border with Israel is very worrisome, given Iran’s [efforts] to establish itself on our border, and the fact that it turns Syria into Iran’s forward base.”

In addition, Shaked noted, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group had accumulated “more than 100,000 missiles and rockets over the past decade. Now they’re working on more accurate rockets and strategic [weapons] that are much more dangerous for the State of Israel.”

Shaked also discussed Israel’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority, arguing that Israel ought to play a larger role in developing the PA economy.

“We need to make much greater efforts to develop the Palestinian economy and the PA.”

One example, the Justice Minister offered, was for Israel to encourage business owners to employ more workers from the PA.

“I strongly support increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians,” said Shaked adding that she was pushing Israeli restaurateurs hiring illegal immigrants to replace them with PA residents with Israeli work permits.

“I spoke with some restaurant owners who had come to me asking what they could do if all of their [illegal immigrant] workers from Eritrea and Sudan were deported. I told them ‘hire Palestinians – they’re people who want jobs and don’t carry out terror attacks.”

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