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Israel's Defense Chief: 'We Know How to Respond Quickly and Decisively'

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Everyone in Israel is bracing for what could be a major attack from Iran. At a briefing for news media this week, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the Israeli military is ready to strike back – and hard.

"Anyone who tries to attack us will be met with a strong defense. We know how to respond quickly and decisively to the territory of whoever attacks our territory, no matter where that may be in the Middle East," he stated.  

Then Gallant added, "Over the years, we have been known to prepare surprises for our enemies."

Could that possibly be attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities?  With the Islamic regime reportedly just months away from possessing nuclear weapons, some in Israel are itching for a chance to destroy those plants working on such weapons.

Hamas' Goal: Terrify the Jews of Israel

Gallant began the briefing with the description of the war Israel's been waging against Hamas since the terror group brutally attacked the Jewish nation on October 7th – torturing, abusing, and slaughtering some 1,200 people.

"The goal of this day for Hamas was not only to slaughter, rape, and kill innocent people but also to project it to the world," Gallant asserted. "Their aim was to create a picture of what the future looks like for the Jews if they remain here in Israel. They wanted to deter us from living the way we do, in this unique democracy in the Middle East.” 

As for those who claim the raping and torturing of October 7th never happened, or that just a few out-of-control bad actors were to blame, Gallant answered, "We have obtained hundreds of terabytes of information and pictures from Hamas. We saw what was happening in real time.  Everything done on October 7th was done on purpose and under direct orders."

Wiping out the Hamas Threat Brigade by Brigade

He pointed out Hamas isn't just a bunch of loosely affiliated terrorists.  It's been a highly organized military.  But the war Israel's been waging in the Gaza Strip is bringing those days to an end.

Gallant claimed, “Today Hamas is no longer functioning as a military organization across the Strip. We have destroyed four out of five regional brigades. The remaining brigade is in the south, and across the (Gaza) Strip we are fighting terror hotspots.” 

That last remaining brigade is most likely the Hamas military troops holed up in Rafah, where Israel has pledged to go in and wipe them out.

Who's to Blame for All the Slain Civilians?

Much has been made of Israel killing many civilians during this war.  But Gallant puts the blame squarely on Hamas.

“Hamas is using the population as ‘camouflage,'" Gallant said, admitting, "This poses a big challenge for us as we aim to achieve our goals and also to prevent civilian casualties."

He emphasized, "Let me make it very clear: we are not fighting civilians. We are fighting the Hamas terrorist organization.  Hamas in turn uses the civilian population and often hides behind it."  

For instance, hundreds of Hamas troops holed up throughout Gaza's large Shifa hospital.  They even hid out the maternity wards, later battling Israeli soldiers there.

Hamas members will disguise themselves in ordinary civilian garb and often stay as close to civilians as possible. Gallant said that challenges one of the Israeli military's top standards.  

As he put it, “We have a clear policy since the start of the war: distinguishing between Hamas and civilians. This is a complex mission since Hamas cynically bases its terror network within civilian infrastructure.”

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New Phase and Major Breakthroughs:

Gallant also announced a new phase of delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza and what he described as “five major breakthroughs”. 

Here’s what he announced: 

  1. Approval of the Ashdod Port – to increase the entry of goods and streamline security checks.
  2. Approval of the new Northern Crossing – which will provide a route to bring aid directly to northern Gaza and reduce pressure on Kerem Shalom.
  3. Boosting aid through Jordan – Two routes including cooperation with the Jordanian Armed Forces (150 trucks total). This will set the foundation for future “hubs”.
  4. Establishing the Coordination and Deconfliction Cell – part of a wider effort to increase cooperation with international organizations, implement lessons learned, and work with new partners.
  5. Major Projects: working with the U.S. on JLOTS (Joint Logistics Over the Shore), COGAT (Coordination of Activities in the Territories) working on infrastructure projects (for example, water lines); Gallant's staff is meeting with new aid organizations.

Gallant added, “These breakthroughs have a direct impact on the flow of aid – we plan to flood Gaza with aid and we are expecting to reach 500 trucks per day. It will also streamline security checks and strengthen our work with international partners.”

He also announced a record number of trucks. “Our policy has evolved to facilitate more and more aid as we improved work with partners, and created the operational conditions to enable such work.” 

Since the beginning of the war, more than 22,000 trucks containing more than 400,000 tons of humanitarian aid have passed through the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings to the Gaza Strip, after undergoing security checks. In addition, approximately 3,961 food packages have been airdropped in 64 airdrops to distribution points across the Gaza Strip. As part of the humanitarian effort, on Wednesday, April 10, 298 humanitarian aid trucks entered through the crossings, and 353 food packages were airdropped.

Yet, Gallant cautioned that Hamas steals between one-third and one-half of the aid entering Gaza. He added humanitarian aid is key for the future of Gaza.

“There are three bad options for the day after: Hamas controlling Gaza, Israel controlling Gaza, and total anarchy. We need to create another option – to empower a local alternative. The humanitarian effort is key in empowering a local alternative," Gallant insisted.

How Gallant Sees the Israel/U.S. Relationship

Much has been made in the news media of spats during the war between Biden administration figures and Israeli leaders.  They've argued over civilian casualties, aid delivery, and even the soon-coming invasion of Rafah.

But as head of Israel’s Defense Ministry, Gallant stated, “Let me say loud and clear: the defense establishment takes the United States very seriously. We look at them as friends, as partners, as brothers-in-arms in many ways. I've known the American forces for almost 40 years since I started working and training with them. We appreciate their professionalism, their principles, and their integrity. We take what they say very seriously."

He continued, "And you need to add to that that since day one, since the establishment of the state of Israel and since the start of this war, the U.S. has been standing with Israel. I believe that we share 100 percent of the values and 99 percent of the interests.  I am proud of this.” 

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Gallant has a long history of serving Israel in an elite special forces unit; he was a general in the Israel Defense Forces and is a member of the Knesset.  Today he serves in Israel’s War Cabinet at one of the most important times in the history of the modern Jewish State. 

We asked Gallant how his family history motivates him. His mother Fruma sailed on the historic ship, The Exodus, in 1947.  His father served as a partisan in Ukraine and Belarus during WWII.  He said he learned from his parents “never give up.” 

He added that “Never Again” was a manual in his home. It’s why Gallant and others feel Israel today is fighting for its very survival. They gain strength and courage from the legacy of their parents and grandparents who survived the Holocaust.  They know that Israel, established as the homeland for the Jewish people is where they will stand and fight for the future of their children and grandchildren.   

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About The Author


About The Author


As a freelance reporter for CBN's Jerusalem bureau and during 27 years as senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, government, and God’s providential involvement in our world. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as a senior editor in 1990. Strand moved back to the nation's capital in 1995 and then to