update deskIsrael at War

Knesset’s opening session interrupted by Hamas rocket fire

Israeli lawmakers vacated the plenum for the hallway during the attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog attend a plenary session at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog attend a plenary session at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

Hamas rocket fire targeting Jerusalem interrupted the opening session of the Knesset’s winter session on Monday afternoon. The legislators exited the plenum for the parliament’s hallway during the attack.

MK Merav Ben-Ari of the Yesh Atid Party was at the podium when air raid sirens sounded in the distance.

“I think there’s a siren,” Ben-Ari told Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, who told everyone to go to the hallway.

The second session of the 25th Knesset opened with a minute of silence for Israelis murdered by Hamas terrorists in the Oct. 7 assault. According to Monday’s official numbers, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed.

With a widely expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip imminent, speeches at the opening session called for national unity and resolve.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who opened the session, said: “The brutal attack of our enemies was aimed at the Jewish people.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the session, vowing to investigate how Hamas was able to catch Israel off-guard with such a devastating attack.

Lawmakers gather in a safe room as a siren warns of incoming rockets at the Knesset, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

‘Our war is also your war

“We have already started to apply immediate lessons. But now we are focused on one goal: to unite forces and charge forward to victory,” he said.

“This is a moment of determined struggle against those who rose against us to destroy us. Our goal is victory; an overwhelming victory over Hamas, overthrowing its rule and removing its threat to the State of Israel once and for all,” Netanyahu said.

Describing the struggle as one between “the sons of light and the sons of darkness,” the prime minister said the world now understands what Israel is up against, comparing Hamas to the Nazis and ISIS.

The civilized world must realize: “Our war is also your war. If we don’t stand together on one front, it will come to you, too,” he added.

Israeli parliamentarians stand for a minute of silence in memory of the innocent Israeli civilians massacred by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

Netanyahu cautioned Iran and Hezbollah against entering the war. “Don’t test us in the north. Do not repeat the mistake you already made [in the past], because today the price you will pay will be much heavier.

“President [Joe] Biden told you in English: ‘Don’t do it.’ I tell you the same in Hebrew: Take care,” he said.

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