Bennett takes office as Defence Minister amid escalating conflict with Gaza terrorists

November 13, 2019 by Arye Green -TPS
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Naftali Bennett has begun his term as Minister of Defence as the security situation in Israel presents him with difficult decisions.

Naftali Bennett Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 2 January 2017

Bennett received a briefing from Prime Minister and former Defence Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and from Israel Defence Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu, Kochavi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Nadav Argaman held a joint press conference following the IDF strike on Senior Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata in Gaza and the dozens of rockets fired at Israel since the attack.

After the briefing, Bennett declared a state of increased caution in all Israeli towns and cities within an 80-kilometre range from the Gaza Strip.

The state of caution is valid for 48 hours, and may be cancelled or prolonged by the Defence Minister with the approval of the government.

Deputy Defence Minister Avi Dichter kept his position. Bennett authorized Dichter to handle Israel’s home front on a regular basis, particularly in the coming tense days.

Since early Tuesday morning, approximately 190 rockets have been fired at Israel, the majority in the south.  Sixty of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.   In response to the rocket fire, the IDF launched several strikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.

The rocket fire is expected to intensify in the coming hours.   Islamic Jihad threatened that Israel would receive “surprises” from the terror group throughout the evening.

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