Smotrich criticizes shuttering of education over Iran attack, wants control of Gaza

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 4, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 4, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hard-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich slams the shuttering of the education system yesterday in light of Iran’s threat to strike Israel, stating that it was unjustified.

“The decision to close the education system was a mistake, it led to panic and there was no justification for it — the finger was too light on the trigger,” Smotrich tells Army Radio, pledging to ensure “that there is a response” to Iran’s weekend attack against Israel.

“I will make sure that we do what is necessary to ensure our security,” he promises.

Turning to Gaza, Smotrich calls for continued Israel control over the coastal territory, warning that allowing local autonomy would lead to terrorism.

“There are 2 million Nazis in Gaza who want to slaughter, rape and murder every Jew. If a local population rules there it will be a terrorist organization,” he says. “We currently have to rule there operationally and militarily until we can develop moderate local forces to take over.”

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