By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Tel Aviv, Israel — May 17, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now holding a security consultation at the Kirya in Tel Aviv with the Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the head of the National Security Council, the head of the ISA, the head of the Mossad and the security leadership.
Earlier, Netanyahu spoke by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who reiterated her unreserved support for Israel’s right to defend itself. The Prime Minister thanked her for the action of her government against anti-semitic elements in Germany and emphasized that Hamas is committing a double war crime by firing missiles from inside civilian populations and by using civilians in Gaza as human shields.
Last night, Netanyahu spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and thanked him for his country’s support of Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the terrorist organizations’ firing missiles at Israel’s cities. The Prime Minister noted that Israel would continue to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad in order to restore the quiet and security to the citizens of Israel.
On Friday, Netanyahu met with the Israel Defense Minister and the IDF Chief-of-Staff, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv.
“Citizens of Israel, our campaign against the terrorist organizations is continuing with full force,” said Netanyahu.
“We are exacting very heavy prices from Hamas for its intolerable aggression. The IDF has carried out extensive attacks on over 1,500 targets in recent days. We have struck very hard at Hamas’s underground activity. Hamas invested an entire decade and vast capital in the excavation of tunnels; most of it, not all, but a considerable part, is gone.
Hamas’s ‘metro’ – their subway, their underground tunnels – has been transformed from a strategic asset into a deathtrap for terrorists. I said it yesterday and I will say it again today: No terrorist is immune.
Additionally, we struck at Hamas’s UAVs and drones, as well as at their naval capability. We have destroyed massive stockpiles of missiles and rockets. We have wrecked terrorist buildings, command centers and infrastructures throughout the Gaza Strip. We are doing this while making a dedicated and humanitarian effort to minimize injury to uninvolved persons.
I salute the IDF, the ISA, the soldiers and fighters – they are all doing excellent work and we are very proud of them. I request that you, Israel Defense Minister and IDF Chief-of-Staff, convey my congratulations, our congratulations, the congratulations of the entire nation, to the brave, dedicated soldiers of the IDF and to the fighters of the ISA as well, and to the other men and women of the Israel security services who are doing extraordinary work.
With stratagems we make war [see Proverbs 24:6] and with daring we will be victorious. We are continuing to take action, even at this hour, as long as necessary to restore quiet and security to you, citizens of Israel. It will yet take time.
There is talk about international pressure. There is always pressure but all in all we are receiving very serious backing, first of all from the US.
Again, I would like to thank our good friend, President Joe Biden, and also the many other countries that have truly taken incredible steps such as flying the Israeli flag over their government buildings. We very much appreciate this. There is a reason for this support because after the reprehensible attacks, such as those in Jerusalem, against Israel’s cities, in the attempt to kill innocent Jewish citizens – we have international backing and we are using it, in our natural right to self-defense as well. This is what we did in Gaza and this is also what we are doing inside the country.
I welcome the trend of calm that we see among the Arab public; it is not absolute. We just had a car ramming attack in Jerusalem. However, all in all, we have seen a decline in this trend of violence by the Arab public and this is very important among the Arab public. I have always said that it is not the entire public and not a majority of the public but it is a significant minority, which we must deal with.
We want to exact a price from the aggressor as in all types of terrorism. To restore the quiet and security and to rebuild deterrence and governance, will take time.
In the face of these violent events, we have used the Israel Security Agency (ISA). We deployed reinforced units throughout the country and we have carried out hundreds of arrests. We are taking action against those who used violence and disturbed the peace – they will be punished.
Our goal is, first, to halt the violence. I hope that we are achieving this. Afterwards, to rehabilitate the relations between Jews and Arabs. We live together in this state and we need to get back on the track of coexistence, cooperation and partnership in the great success called ‘the State of Israel’.
I would like to say an additional word, to you, citizens of Israel. What Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran want to achieve is, first of all, as many dead Israelis as possible. The achievement that I would like to achieve, that we would all like to achieve, is, first of all, to save your lives.
Therefore, I would like to remind you that for an entire year, we changed our behavior because of the coronavirus, Covid19; we changed our routine. Thanks to our behavior, thanks to the actions we took together, we saved many lives. Therefore, I ask you all – minimize outdoor activity. Follow the directives. I am proud of your endurance.
This evening we will celebrate the Jewish holiday ofShavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah. When the Torah was given, when we received the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel stood together, as Rashi writes, ‘As one person, with one heart.’
Thus we stand today – as one person, with one heart, with one heart in the fight for our state, one heart behind our soldiers, and one heart for our security and our future.”