Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday participated in a state memorial service commemorating late prime minister David Ben-Gurion on the 45th anniversary of his passing, and firmly rejected public criticism of his own conduct in the latest round of violence in Gaza.
“Our enemies pleaded for a ceasefire and they know very well why,” Netanyahu said, denying accusations that he had gone soft on Gaza terrorists.
“In times of crisis, Ben-Gurion made fateful decisions,” Netanyahu explained. “Sometimes he did so against popular opinion, but in the course of time, these decisions proved to be correct. In normal times, a leader must be attentive to the hearts of the people, and our people are wise. But in times of crisis, when making critical decisions in the field of security, the public cannot always be a partner in the crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy.”
“I hear the voices of the residents of the south,” Netanyahu said, referring to resounding complaints from the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip, which have been bombarded by more than 450 rockets and mortar shells earlier this week, and who demanded swift action against Gaza.
“Believe me, they are precious to me, their words penetrate my heart. But together with the heads of the security forces, I see the overall picture of Israel’s security, which I cannot share with the public. I wish I could share with the citizens of Israel everything I know, but with the security of Israel – it is mostly hidden from view. Our enemies have pleaded for a cease-fire, and they know very well why.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, though, it appears one head of the security forces was not in agreement with the PM’s policy of appeasement in Gaza – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation and called for new elections.
Netanyahu, however, insisted that he had a handle on the Gaza crisis. “I cannot elaborate on our plans for the future,” he said, “We will determine the right conditions and the right times for the State of Israel, which are correct for the security of our citizens.”