Gaza terrorists may have miscalculated Tuesday when they launched two separate rocket attacks at southern Israeli communities following the death of a hunger-striking terrorist in an Israeli prison, wounding at least seven people in Sderot.
Despite the deep divide among Israelis over the government’s planned judicial reforms, coalition members and opposition lawmakers swiftly united in response to the external threat.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi immediately following the afternoon barrage of 22 rockets, all aimed at Jewish communities along the Gaza border.
“Anyone who attempts to harm the citizens of Israel will be sorry,” Gallant told reporters following the meeting.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony held Tuesday afternoon at IDF Training Base 1, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Amir Baram promised a “determined” response to the rocket fire by the Israeli military.
“Even at this very moment we are busy with security challenges,” Baram said. “Following the rocket fire that was just carried out into Sderot and the Gaza Strip, I can assure you that the IDF will respond and act in a determined and meaningful way in order to restore peace to the residents of the State of Israel.”
Former Defense Minister and Blue & White party chairman Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and a member of the opposition faction in the Knesset, also emphasized the terrorists will “pay a price” for the day’s attacks.
“The terrorist organizations in Gaza will pay a price for shooting towards the south,” Gantz warned.
“We will back any determined and responsible security action against terrorism,” he said.
“Together with the entire Israeli people I pray for the recovery of the wounded. In these moments, we are all with the residents of the surrounding area and the security forces.”
האופוזיציה תגבה את הממשלה בכל פעולה צבאית שתביא שקט ובטחון לתושבי הדרום.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) May 2, 2023
Knesset opposition leader Yair Lapid also expressed support for the government in the face of rocket fire, saying the opposition will support the government on any military action required to restore peace and security to the residents of the south.
“Ramadan is over; the excuses are over,” noted Likud MK Danny Danon. “There is now no reason to accept this. This is the time to strike hard at those who hurt us.”
MK Almog Cohen, a member of the Otzma Yehudit party, headed to the southern border city of Sderot, where three foreign nationals were wounded, including one seriously, from the rocket fire.
“Another red line has been crossed,” Cohen said.
“After they attacked us during the Passover holiday, today the terrorists from Gaza permit themselves to shoot at our cities and towns with the aim of murdering us, while we take our children out of educational institutions.
“The response must be deadly and painful,” said Cohen, a resident of the south.
“We residents of the south are ready to stay in shelters as long as necessary, on the condition that we get the peace we and our children long for.
“I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded and encourage the IDF and the government to respond with an iron fist against the terrorists.”
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi called for a strong response.
“Enough with the lip service,” Davidi told Israel’s Channel 13 News. “There are two terror groups ruling Gaza. They shoot when they want. We need to assassinate them.
“If we don’t take care of this now, and put it at the top of the agenda, before any other thing the government wants to do, bringing down prices or whatnot … the safety of residents of the south and of Sderot must come before everything else.” he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency security assessment late Tuesday afternoon at the IDF’s Camp Dayan, in the Galilot Base, to determine Israel’s response to the attacks.
The Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Military Staff, the Chief of Defense Staff, the Chief of Defense Staff, the Deputy Head of the ISA, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, and the Commander of the Southern Command were all present at the meeting.