All of Israel’s security wings – the Shin Bet, the IDF, Israel Police – have significantly increased their intelligence operations to reach attackers before they carry out attacks, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced in a broadcast message late Wednesday evening.
“From my end, there is no limit to the resources that we can dedicate to this,” said Bennett.
Israel Police has switched to emergency format and will receive backup from the IDF. Separately, the IDF has increased its presence in the West Bank ahead of Ramadan and as calls come to limit or even close off entry by Palestinians to sovereign Israel.
The man who killed five people in a terror attack in Bnei Brak on Tuesday is Dia Hamarsha, 27, from the village of Ya’bad in the northern West Bank near Jenin. His has already been mapped for destruction.
Bennett also announced that any soldiers with elementary combat training (basic training level 03 and above) will take their weapons home with them on weekends.
What can Israel’s citizens expect? “Be alert. Whoever has a weapons license, this is the time to carry it,” he said.
In a video statement released earlier after the Bnei Brak attack, Bennett said that Israel is “currently facing a new wave of terrorism.”
“After a period of quiet, there is a violent eruption by those who want to destroy us, those who want to hurt us at any price, whose hatred of Jews, of the State of Israel, drives them crazy,” Bennett said in a short video address Wednesday morning.
“They are prepared to die – so that we will not live in peace,” he added.
Israel has already pushed to thwart what it feared would be outbreaks of Palestinian violence, similar to what sparked a Gaza war last May and a wave of ethnic Jewish-Arab riots within sovereign Israel.
“What we witnessed less than a year ago in Operation Guardians of the Walls, the terrorism and the violence, from within Israel and inside Israel, was the first sign,” Bennett said.
“This is a great and complex challenge for the IDF, the ISA and the Israel Police that requires the security establishment to be creative and for us to adapt ourselves to the new threat and read the tell-tale signs of lone individuals, sometimes without organizational affiliation, and to be in control on the ground in order to thwart terrorism even before it happens,” he explained.
“The security forces of the State of Israel are the best in the world. They are up to the task and, as in the previous waves, we will prevail this time as well,” he added.
He sent his condolences to the families of the victims, wished a speedy recovery to the wounded and thanked the civilians and police officers who helped end the attacks for their heroism.
“I stand by the civilians and police officers who shot the terrorists in the various locations. I have spoken with some of them and thanked them on behalf of all of us. These are heroes of Israel who, thanks to their courage, have saved lives,” he said.
“We face a challenging period. We have experience in dealing with terrorism, from the very beginning of Zionism. They did not break us then and they will not break us now,” Bennett said.
“The secret of our existence is the mutual responsibility among us and our determination to maintain the home that we have built – at any price,” he explained, adding that “citizens of Israel, we will prevail this time as well.”
Bennett, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 held security consultations last night with the Defense Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Public Security Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the Director of the ISA, the Israel Police Inspector General, the Director of the National Security Council, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, the head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, and the head of the IDF Operations Directorate.