Minister Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset Plenum
Minister Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset Plenumצילום: נועם מושקוביץ, דוברות הכנסת

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called at his party meeting to increase military pressure on Hamas because, according to him, this is what will make Hamas agree to a deal.

"We are at war," Smotrich began his speech, "At this moment our sldiers are in Khan Yunis and are fighting face to face with the Nazis of Hamas-ISIS, defending us and actively attacking Hezbollah in the north, and operate every day in Judea and Samaria. We are fighting against those who rise against us to eliminate us. In war, one must act as in war and the first and central thing is to preserve our unity which we rediscovered after Simchat Torah".

He added that "There will be time for investigations, soul-searching, and finding the guilty, there will be time for protests and criticism, the time will come to go back to the public in elections and to gain confidence. But now is the time to fight for our future and to win the war and to act with all our might to bring back our abductees. Sectarian and violent conduct harms Israel's security".

"I said and warned that it would be a mistake to send our delegation to Qatar and Egypt while Hamas wants the war to continue. Unfortunately, we are consistently retreating from our boundries and this only makes Sinwar climb demand more ridiculous things," he said.

He continued referring to Hamas' demands and said that "The new demand to cancel the Nitzarim corridor and return hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents to the northern Strip, including thousands of terrorists, is a terrible danger to the residents of Sderot who returned to their homes and are in a distance of only a few kilometers, and to all citizens of the State of Israel. It will harm the ability to demilitarize the Gaza Strip as a condition for its rehabilitation. Anyone who approves this terrible step is abandoning Israel's security. The one demanding this is irresponsible".

According to him, "The way to return the abductees is by dramatically increasing military pressure and entering Rafah with or without American consent, until Hamas is subdued, Sinwar is eliminated, and all the abductees are returned".

Smotrich further said that "absurdly, alongside the front in the south we are under a combined political and security attack aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the heart of the country. A combination of left-wing forces, the media, international pressures, and to our greater sorrow also certain elements in the security system and in the war cabinet, are trying to insert the PLO in a renewed disguise to rule in Gaza and then to connect it to Judea and Samaria. This will establish a terror state in the Land of Israel as if we have learned nothing from October 7".

"As part of this attack, we see unprecedented sanctions being imposed on Israeli citizens whose only sin is settling in Judea and Samaria and guarding our state lands. We will not agree to this and will fight against it with all our might," he clarified.

He referred to the reduction of sanctions by the US towards residents of Judea and Samaria and said: "I am happy to inform you that thanks to my insistence and a clear demands, along with the Prime Minister and Minister Dermer, the American government sent a letter that greatly reduces the sanctions that were taken and allows the banks to release the bank accounts of the settlers that were completely frozen. It is still not enough but it is definitely a step in the right direction and we will not relax until all the sanctions are canceled."

Regarding the haredi draft law, he said: "I have an important message for the Haredi public: The pictures you saw yesterday in Jerusalem do not reflect what the Israeli public thinks of you. Do not let a handful of extreme political activists push you out of integration and influence in Israeli society. They do not represent any stream in Israeli society. Israeli society recoils when it sees these displays of brute force that seek to destroy and demolish while the people of Israel are at war. These people do not represent Israelis. They do not represent the secular. They do not represent the IDF soldiers. They do not represent the unity that all of Israel gathered around".

"I clearly stated that due to the massacre on Simchat Torah and the real need for more soldiers everyone needs to get under the stretcher. The Haredi public must take part in the defense and security of the state," he said.

Smotrich explained that "The way to integrate the Haredi public is through dialogue and sincere conversation with the Haredi leadership and establishing tracks and frameworks that are suitable for their lifestyle in the IDF and in the security system. We need respect, brotherly love, dialogue, trust, and a measured and responsible process. Any path of hatred and defamation as unfortunately seen yesterday in the Brothers in Arms demonstration in Meah Shearim will achieve the opposite result and cause immense damage".

Finally, Smotrich said that "The Supr me Court and Attorney General must also act to assist in the success of the mission and not to cause a severe rift and enmity that will not bring one additional soldier to enlist."