Primary focus was on Israel’s strategic concept vis-à-vis the Palestinians, especially along the nation’s border with lawless Islamist Hamas-run territory.
By Erin Viner
Leader of the IDF Southern Command Major General Eliezer Toledano and Gaza Division Commander Brigadier General Nimrod Aloni held discussion on the current situation with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The top military brass also presented a survey of the operational status.
“We are currently concluding the quietest year for the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in the past 15 years,” Prime Minister Bennett said following the assessment.
Pointing out that there is a “new normal” for Israel’s southern residents highlighted by “quiet, security and normal life,” the outgoing Premier asserted that the area is now “in peak demand” by families and that “new homes are being built here.”
“This is the true picture of victory,” said Bennett, who is stepping down from power.
Israel was stunned on Monday by the joint decision by Bennett Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, to dissolve the 24th Knesset and hold early elections. Bennett will step aside to be replaced by Lapid, his partner in the fragile eight-party coalition coalition that included far-right, liberal, centrist and Israeli-Arab parties.
“We are in a period of political instability – but the security stability must be preserved,” Bennett stated, warning that he would not “suggest that anyone on the other side try and challenge this,” in reference to the Islamist terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip.
As his “concluding action as Prime Minister,” Bennett announced the creation of an Israeli National Guard to further strengthen public security of the state, as well as the personal security of its citizens.
After the visit to the IDF Gaza headquarters, the Israeli leader met with Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Gadi Yarkoni and local residents.
Bennett spoke to the community about his many visits to the area during his tenure as Premier, as well as during his previous posts that include being Defense Minister.
Hailing the relative calm his government’s policies ensured to the southern Israelis over the past year, Bennett expressed his best wishes for the continuation of such stability in the coming years, as well.
After unanimous preliminary approval for its own dissolution by the Knesset yesterday, the move will be finalized next week when a date will be set for the next national elections. Israeli voters’ fifth trip to the ballot box in less than four years will likely between late September to early November.