Israel must invest more in offensive rather than defensive mechanisms to face enemy threats, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Cabinet on Sunday.
“We won’t become obsessive. We must not arrive at hysteric or popular conclusions regarding defense,” said Olmert, responding to criticism that the country wasn’t doing enough to protect the home front.
Olmert added that he was not interested in arguing with the Supreme Court. “The government, and only the government, is the authority that needs to make decisions on the subject of protecting [Gaza communities],” he said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, referring to a recent court order for police to expand the fortification of schools in Sderot.
However, he stressed that “we are not engaging in a conflict with the Supreme Court – certainly not fighting with it,” and added that “all I’m saying is that on this subject, we have to operate in keeping with the recommendations of the defense establishment and the Home Front Command.”
“There is still a lot left to be done on the matter,” Olmert continued. “We must take action according to allocated resources and priorities – all these are the tasks of the government which will… make decisions itself,” said the prime minister.
Olmert warned against evacuating residents from the rocket-hit western Negev.
“The national sport of ‘who will scare more residents way from danger zones’ threatens the stability of the country during times of emergency,” Olmert warned. “Whoever evacuates Sderot will determine the fate of Ashkelon, and then afterwards, the fate of Ashdod,” he added.
(NOTES TAKEN BY DAVID BEDEIN DURING PRESS BRIEFING FOLLOWING CABINET MEETING, July 22ND, 2007)