Following the terrorist attack in Huwara, in which Shai Silas Nigreker and his son Aviad Nir were murdered, and a second attack in Hebron Mount, in which Batsheva Nigri was killed and Aryeh Gottlieb was seriously injured, the security cabinet convened on Tuesday after pushing forward the date from the planned September 10.
"The Security Cabinet made a series of decisions to strike at the terrorists and whoever dispatches them, and authorized the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister to act accordingly," according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office at the end of the meeting.
The statement also said that the Security Cabinet "backs the commanders and soldiers of the IDF and the personnel of the security services in their actions against terrorist elements on behalf of the security of the citizens of Israel."
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment on Tuesday with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, focusing on the security forces’ actions following the recent terror attacks in the West Bank.
Gallant commended security forces for apprehending the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack at Mount Hebron and for their actions against terror. The situation assessment was joined by Defense Ministry Director-General Eyal Zamir; head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva; and other senior security officials.
During the security cabinet meeting, confrontations arose between Gallant and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who demanded the placement of roadblocks on West Bank roads and a return to closures, as well as targeting of threats in the area. Ben-Gvir also demanded that the conditions of security prisoners in the prison be downgraded.
Gallant expressed opposition to the moves, noting that "there is a danger of friction, and we need to pay attention to that. Once it was a few dozen and today it is already hundreds. An event leads to an event." Ben-Gvir attacked in response: "I feel like I'm living in a movie. People have been murdered and you keep talking about the danger of friction."
The cabinet agreed to hold another discussion about the conditions of the security prisoners.
Meanwhile, Gallant attacked Ben-Gvir for claiming that "the IDF is not doing its job," and saying that the defense minister "cares more about the soldiers than the security of the residents." Gallant firmly replied, saying that "thousands of IDF and Shin Bet soldiers have been operating in a heightened manner in recent weeks, among other things to ensure the safe travel of some of the ministers and members of the Knesset to the positions from which they insulted the commanders of those fighters themselves.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that the security cabinet’s meeting would be advanced to the beginning of next week, and sources in his office noted the decision was made due to the security situation.
Several hours later, Netanyahu announced that the meeting would be moved to Wednesday, but then announced once again that the meeting would take place on Tuesday.At the start of the regular Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu devoted only 35 seconds to the deadly attack that occurred in Huwara. He sent his condolences to the families of the victims, promised to apprehend the terrorist "sooner than he thinks" – and then carried on.
In his speech, Netanyahu refrained from mentioning that the attack occurred against the backdrop of a wave of terrorism currently felt in Israel, during which 35 people were killed and around 140 were injured in 2023 alone.
"The crisis began in 2022. We’re all responsible for this harsh outcome. We aren’t providing the necessary security to the people of Israel,” said Likud Knesset member Avihai Boaron in referencing the terror attack at Mount Hebron.
"An axiom being repeated says the solution is to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, which is a fertile ground for terrorist activity," he also said. "I'm not in a rush to dismantle it, but is it right to strengthen it? In hindsight, we didn't achieve the desired results, and everything should be done to change this equation."
Lawmaker Ohad Tal of the Religious Zionism party told Ynet that "the government needs to take responsibility and change the current reality." According to Tal: "The government hasn’t completed its mission and hasn’t done what the Israeli public expects of it. We need to correct our actions and our way forward."
"We’re living in a strange reality, and we need to inspect ourselves and the promise of security we gave to the Israeli public during the elections," he added.