Israel again faces terror from a multiplicity of sources in the south — a fact acknowledged by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during remarks he delivered Monday at a ceremony to mark the first year anniversary of the 51-day counter terror war against Hamas, Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. But during his speech to families of the fallen IDF soldiers at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery, Netanyahu warned Israel would not tolerate any threat to her citizens. “If Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran or Da’esh (ISIS) attempts to harm Israel, they are risking their lives,” he stated.
Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization, Netanyahu reminded, was dealt a “severe blow that it has not felt since its founding… We are [currently] monitoring events in the south and our operations [there] require strength,” he said.
At least two families of the fallen are particularly grief-stricken: the bodies of their sons have yet to be laid to rest. Hamas terrorists kidnapped their remains during the war, and have held them in captivity since.
The prime minister addressed the issue, promising the families, “We will do everything we can to return home Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin to their families.” President Reuven Rivlin also related in his speech to the wounds that – for some families — seem to have no end.
Speaking about those soldiers who are still medically fighting for their lives, and the grief of families whose pain yet remains, Rivlin said, “An operation was launched last year and for some, the battle carries on today; a post-war battle, a battle with no cease-fire.”
Rivlin warned the terror organizations that Israel would not tolerate a renewal of the threats that led to the last war – such as the rocket fire and road terror attacks that have again begun to target civilians throughout the country.
“Israel will not continue to be a hostage in enemy hands,” he said, “an enemy who does not respect human rights or civilian lives… The next conflict could be a lot harder than the last one.”
It was Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, who bluntly said in his address to the families of the fallen that the sacrifices of their loved ones had not been in vain.
“Hundreds of terrorists were killed, and the Hamas infrastructure was destroyed. Our soldiers hit them from the air, from the sea and by land in such a way as to make their leaders understand we would not accept any attack on the security of our civilians,” he said.
Hana Levi Julian