Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday night vowed to lead the Jewish state to victory over Hamas, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to rebuild and expand the border communities destroyed in the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre.
“On Oct. 7, Hamas began a war—a war against the citizens of Israel, against little children, against women, against Holocaust survivors,” said Gallant in a televised address. “It’s a war of murder, rape, kidnapping, looting.”
“As a father, grandfather and son of Holocaust survivors, I understand and am deeply saddened by the very heavy price of those who fell in battle,” he stated.
In an apparent reference to the anticipated ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, Gallant reiterated that “additional stages in the war will also come. We are creating the conditions for them and we will carry them out.”
“I am determined to make every effort to return the hostages to their families,” he added. “This is my supreme obligation, along with the effort for absolute victory in the war.”
“Nothing like has happened in Israel’s 75 years of existence,” the defense minister said. “What will happen in the next 75 years depends largely on the achievements in this battle.”
Hamas terrorists murdered more than 1,400 Israelis and wounded 5,000 others in the massive cross-border attack, which included thousands of rockets fired at Israel and the abduction of at least 224 hostages.
In Israel, 267 people wounded in the Oct. 7 assault remain hospitalized.
Netanyahu said in a prime-time televised speech on Wednesday night that the Israel Defense Forces is preparing for a ground operation in Gaza, adding that the war cabinet and military establishment had agreed unanimously on the timing.
“We are working around the clock in order to execute the goals of our war until victory, and we do so without political considerations,” Netanyahu said.
“We have already killed thousands of terrorists and this is just the beginning,” he said. “All Hamas operatives must die: above ground, underground, inside Gaza and outside Gaza.”
During a visit to the coastal city of Yavne in central Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu met with officials tasked with “restoring, strengthening and developing” the devastated communities of the Gaza border region, per the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem.
“Hope is built on one important principle, and that is confidence. We need to crush Hamas so that people will have the confidence to return,” stated the prime minister, following a tour of the offices of the administration for the reconstruction of the Gaza envelope.
“In the final stage, we can also build and expand,” said the prime minister. He vowed to again make the border region “flourishing and safe. There is a national, primary, even historical task here, I would say.”