Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
PM Naftali Bennett visits Iron Dome installation near Gaza. August 17, 2021

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his government are facing public criticism after failing to respond to a rocket attack on Israel’s south, after vowing to do so.

Islamic Jihad terrorists launched a rocket toward the city of Sderot on Monday, setting off alarms in the area. The rocket was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery. No injuries or damage were caused by the attack.


Bennett had previously declared Israel would respond forcefully to any aggression from the Gaza Strip, and that an attack on Sderot would be treated as an attack on Tel Aviv, but the IDF has yet to respond in any fashion to the rocket attack, the first since Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, apparently due to orders from Bennett.

Today Bennett announced during a visit to an Iron Dome installation near Gaza, “We will operate at a time, place and conditions that suit us, and not for anyone else. From our perspective, the address in Gaza is Hamas, not dissidents and not anybody else other than Hamas.”

But instead of punishing Hamas and Gaza for the attack, Israel allowed 10 truckloads of tires into Gaza on Tuesday, just a day after the rocket attack. Gaza has been running low on tires since they burn many of them along the border with Israel, as part of their environmental terrorism attacks against Israel. In addition, building material will be allowed in starting this Thursday, according Kan news.

Yosi Yehoshua, Yediot Aharonot’s military affairs commentator, wrote that “yesterday, for the first time since Operation Guardian of the Walls, the first rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip in the middle of the day at Sderot. Maybe because of the operation in Jenin [an IDF operation in which four terrorists were killed], maybe because of the Qatari money, it does not matter.”

“What does it matter? As of this moment, the IDF, under the direction of the political echelon, has not responded even with a token attack,” he wrote.

Almog Boker, Channel 13’s reporter in the south, wrote “treating Sderot like Tel Aviv? Maybe another time.”

“In Sderot, children run for shelter in the middle of the day and Prime Minister Bennett chooses to contain the event as if it had not happened,” he charged.

“Now let’s think what would have happened if the shooting had been to Jerusalem yesterday…Yes, this is the same Bennett who promised the residents of Sderot in June: ‘We will not tolerate trickles [isolated incidents], you are not second-class citizens.’”

Many users on Twitter uploaded statements by Bennett and the members of his Yemina party who promised to react to any attacks from Gaza.

One social media user wrote that Bennett is afraid that his government will be toppled by the Islamist Ra’am party, a member of his coalition, which has stated it would leave the government if the IDF launched an attack on the Gaza Strip.

In the meantime, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that the terrorist organizations in Gaza are planning a series of actions in the coming days to put pressure on Israel to comply with their demands.

According to the report, an announcement is expected about “rage processions” at the border with Israel over the weekend, the launch of incendiary balloons, the burning of tires, the activation of the “night harassment units” and riots on the fence. News Desk contributed to this report.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.