Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political rivals attacked him on Monday after he was forced off stage in the middle of an election rally in the coastal city of Ashdod due to a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu was whisked off the stage by his security detail on live TV as sirens sounded, with loudspeakers urging residents to take cover. At least two rockets were fired at Ashdod and nearby Ashkelon, both of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.
“A prime minister being taken off the stage in the middle of a speech because rockets are fired at him is a national humiliation,” said Yemina Party No. 2 Naftali Bennett. “Hamas has stopped fearing Israel. Israel’s security will be restored by Hamas leaders being eliminated and not by press conferences.”
Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid said, “A red alert this evening in Ashdod while Netanyahu is on stage is a red flag for the citizens of Israel,” adding that “Netanyahu is done and can leave the stage.”
Labor-Gesher leader and former defense minister Amir Peretz said, “There is nothing new under the sun. Unfortunately, Netanyahu once again disappeared while abandoning the residents of the south.”
Peretz added that said Netanyahu’s failure to tackle the root of the problem proved he lacked leadership qualities.
“True leadership requires tackling the root of the problem, and not sheltering under the protective shadow of the Iron Dome system. Netanyahu – leadership that runs away,” said Peretz.
Peretz led the push to develop the Iron Dome system when he was defense minister.
Netanyahu returned to the stage and after the all-clear was given.
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