JERUSALEM – At 10:45 p.m. local time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister (and Alternate Prime Minister) Benny Gantz addressed the nation on television.
The IDF chief of staff and Shin Bet chief also spoke.
They made brief statements and were finished at 10:54 p.m.
Netanyahu vowed that Israel would “stand united” against terror wave and that the terrorists will “suffer a heavy price.”
“With unity and force we will return security to Israel.”
For a leader so widely regarded for his oratorical skills, it was a surprisingly short, lackluster, and unmemorable message.
No powerful soundbite.
No call for the nation to pray.
Not particularly reassuring for a nation that has seen Hamas and Islamic Jihad escalate dramatically and is eager for reassurance.
Gantz said the IDF had launched “hundreds of strikes” against “towers and tunnels” and other sites operated by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
The terrorist organizations have been significantly hurt and they will continue to be hurt,” he said.
Gantz emphasized that “the IDF protects all of us – Jews and Arabs – as one.”
“We say to the leaders of the world that there is no sovereign state that would accept the firing of rockets against its civilians and we will not accept it,” Gantz said. “United. Strong. Together we will win.”
It was the strongest line of the event, though that was not a high hurdle.
The IDF chief of staff said his forces had “attacked over 500 targets” including weapons manufacturing factories.
He said the IDF was working hard to defend Israeli communities along the Gaza border, but he added, “I wish to share my sorrow” to the families whose have lost loved ones and those who have suffered injuries.
The Shin Bet (internal security) chief said it was an “unacceptable situation” that a terrorist organization was “firing against our capital.”
But he added that “this is not the time to speak” in detail about operations against the terrorists.
And that was it.
The leaders did not take questions from the media.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.