Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an annual state memorial ceremony for Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, at his gravesite in Sde Boker Israel November 14, 2018. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Hamas “begged” for a cease-fire, and “they know very well why,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday morning, in his first public statements since the government agreed to a cease-fire in the South that went into effect on Tuesday evening.
Speaking at Midreshet Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker at the annual memorial for David and Paula Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu said that he cannot detail Israel plans for the future regarding the situation in Gaza. But, he said, “we will set the conditions and the right time for Israel, and for the security of our residents.”
Netanyahu, who has come under criticism from the Right and from some residents of the South who wanted to see a much more aggressive Israeli response to the Hamas terror from Gaza, drew parallels with the first prime minister.
“Ben-Gurion made decisions sometimes opposed to the popular public opinion,” he said. “In time of crisis, at a time of fateful decision regarding security, the public can not be a partner to considerations that must be hidden from the enemy.”
“At these times leadership is not doing the easy thing, but the right thing, even if it is hard,” he said. “Leadership is standing up to criticism when you know things that are secret and difficult.”
Turning to the residents of the South, some of whom took to the streets in protest on Tuesday evening when the cease-fire went into effect, Netanyahu said that he hears them and loves them.
“Your words penetrate, but together with the head of the security branches I see the wider picture, and I cannot share that with the public,” he said.