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Smotrich urges government to continue Gaza operation: ‘Time for the enemy to be crushed’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich at a Channel 13 news conference in Jerusalem on July 26, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich at a Channel 13 news conference in Jerusalem on July 26, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Religious Zionism leader MK Bezalel Smotrich urges the government to continue the operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, after the terror group fired barrages of rockets toward central and southern Israel throughout the day.

“I call on the political echelon not to stop and not to slow down – the time has come to reverse the equation,” Smotrich says in a statement.

His statement comes amid reports that Egyptian mediators will shortly announce a ceasefire to come into effect this evening.

In remarks directed at Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Smotrich says that “it is time for the enemy to be crushed,” encouraging the two to continue the aerial assault against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.

“[G]ive the order and grind the terrorist organizations to the ground,” Smotrich says.

Smotrich’s party has been in the opposition over the past year, during which he relentlessly attacked the government led by Lapid and former prime minister Naftali Bennett for being weak on security. However, military threats have a way of uniting Jewish Israeli politicians around a nationalist banner, with Smotrich saying the response to terror must transcend political lines.

“Any overwhelming response to terrorism will have our absolute backing. Victory over the enemy and the defeat of terrorism doesn’t have an opposition or a coalition,” he says.

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