Jerusalem, Israel — October 25, 2023 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening made the following statement:
“Citizens of Israel,
We are in the midst of a campaign for our existence. We have set two goals for this war: To eliminate Hamas by destroying its military and governing abilities, and to do everything possible to bring our captives home. All Hamas terrorists are dead men walking – above ground, below ground, outside Gaza.
Together with Defense Minister Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, the Security Cabinet, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and the heads of the security services, we are working around the clock to realize the goals of the war until victory. We are doing so without political considerations. We are concerned by one thing – saving the country, achieving victory.
We are raining down hellfire on Hamas. We have already eliminated thousands of terrorists – and this is only the beginning. At the same time, we are preparing for a ground incursion. I will not detail when, how or how many, or the overall considerations that we are taking into account, most of which are unknown to the public, and this is how it needs to be, in order to better safeguard the lives of our soldiers.
I would like to be clear. The timing of the IDF action will be determined unanimously by the War Cabinet, together with the IDF Chief-of-Staff. Together with the Security Cabinet, we are working to ensure the optimal conditions for our soldiers in the coming actions. When we go into Gaza, in the continuation of the fighting, we will exact the full price from the murderers, those who perpetrated Hamas-ISIS’s horrors. I again call on the non-combatant population in Gaza – evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.
Citizens of Israel, even amidst the storm of battle, we do not forget for a moment the immense pain of the loss of over 1,400 of our brothers and sisters, who were massacred in cold blood and who heroically fell in battle against the bloodthirsty monsters who have risen up to destroy us.
Cutting short their lives is like a hail of arrows at our heart. The soul of the nation is bleeding. The Government will determine national days of mourning for the terrible disaster.
Golani Brigade soldier Dvir Lisha, fell on Simchat Torah defending the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. His mother, Nava Lisha, eulogized him as he was being laid to rest on Mt. Herzl and said: ‘From the pain of this war, we will be reborn as a nation.’ Nothing could be more correct.
I bow my head before all of the families that have been devastated. I know that their lives will never be the same. I send them a heartfelt, loving and consoling embrace from the entire nation.
The Government ministers are working to extend a helping hand to all those who need it. We have evacuated many thousands of civilians from confrontation line communities to hotels, guest houses and other places, fully financed by the state. The Government ministries are formulating plans for continued extensive assistance for all citizens of the state, just like we did during COVID. We will not leave anyone behind, and the Finance Minister will expand on this soon. From the ashes we will raise up the communities and the kibbutzim and we will rebuild the communities that were attacked.
Since the start of the war, we have established 600 new emergency squads, also with the weapons shipments we have brought in from overseas, and we will add more squads in this effort. We are encouraging civilians, and are helping civilians to arm themselves with personal weapons for defense. We are doing so in a controlled manner.
We are recruiting the support of world leaders for the continuation of the campaign. Today, many of them understand what we have been telling them since 2014: Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. I tell them that our war against Hamas is also their war. Our war against Hamas is a test for all of humanity. It is a fight between the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas axis of evil and the forces of freedom and progress. Light will defeat darkness.
Citizens of Israel, the 7th of October is a dark day in our history. We will fully clarify what happened on the southern border and in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. This failure will be investigated thoroughly. Everyone will need to provide answers, myself included, but all of this will happen only after the war.
As Prime Minister, I am responsible for ensuring the future of the country, and at present it is my responsibility to lead the State of Israel and the people to a crushing victory over our enemies. Now is the time to unite for one goal: To storm forward to victory.
With shared forces, with deep faith in the justice of our cause and in the eternity of Israel, we will realize the prophecy of Isaiah 60:18– ” Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.’
Together we will fight and together we will win.”
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