Israel will win the war and “We will keep the promise that the people of Israel live,” the Israeli prime minister said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Israel’s war with Hamas as “a war for the home, a war to secure our existence” in an address to the nation on Monday.
He condemned the atrocities committed by hundreds of members of the terror group Hamas who broke through the Gaza border fence in a surprise assault on Saturday morning and killed more than 900 Israelis, mostly civilians, in a wholesale slaughter. That number has increased for the past three days.
“This war was forced upon us by a despicable enemy, human animals celebrating the murder of women, children and the elderly,” the prime minister said, speaking in Hebrew. “We have not seen the atrocities that Hamas committed since the horrors of ISIS.”
“Handcuffed children who were executed along with the rest of their families, young men and women shot in the back. They were executed,” he said.
Netanyahu promised Hamas would suffer the same fate as ISIS. “The enemy wanted war, he will get war.”
Netanyahu laid out five immediate goals:
1. to purge the enemy from Israeli towns and communities and repel the entry of additional enemy combatants, a battle he said was still being waged;
2. to carry out a massive attack on Hamas of “unprecedented intensity”;
3. to fortify the other fronts, including on the northern border against Hezbollah, in Judea and Samaria, and within Israel;
4. to continue to strengthen international support “in order to preserve our field of action against our enemies”;
5. and to establish unity among the people.
Speaking of the last, which referred to the months-long social upheaval around the government’s efforts at judicial reform, the prime minister stated that “the split between us is over. We are all united, and when we are united, we are victorious.”
The leadership must unite, as the country had, Netanyahu said. He called on the opposition leaders to immediately join in an emergency national government, citing the example set by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Netanyahu promised Israel’s citizens that the blow against Hamas had only begun. “We have eliminated many hundreds of terrorists, and we will not stop there,” he said. “I said that every place in which Hamas hides will become a city of ruins. It’s already happening today.”
The prime minister thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for placing American support squarely behind Israel “in words and deeds,” and noted that one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world, the USS Gerald Ford, was en route to Israel.
“Our common enemies in the region fully understand the meaning of this step,” he said.
Netanyahu thanked the soldiers and security forces who were “acting with extraordinary courage.” He cautioned Israel’s citizens against falling for fake news that seeks to divide or frighten them.
“I assure you, dear citizens, at the end of the campaign, all our enemies will know it was a terrible mistake to attack Israel,” he said. “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will echo with them for generations.”
Netanyahu also promised that the government would do everything possible to return the Israelis held captive by Hamas. “The hearts of all of us are with the families of those captured,” he said.
“As prime minister of Israel, I tell you candidly: Difficult days lie ahead. We mourn for our brothers and sisters, whose blood was spilled, and we are determined to win this war in order to bring life, blessing and light to our nation and our country,” he said.
“The rebirth of Israel is a miracle. It is a model of faith and action. In the book of Samuel, it is said: ‘The victor of Israel does not lie,'” Netanyahu added. “This time, too, we will keep the promise that the people of Israel live.”