[Translated from Hebrew]
“We are in the midst of war, fierce battles are being fought in urban areas in Gaza city. IDF troops are fighting bravely - focused, determined and successful in fulfilling their missions. The IDF is progressing in its mission to eliminate Hamas.”
“This war has a heavy toll on us - I share in the grief of the families who lost their loved ones in the difficult battles in Gaza city- they are our children. Anyone who has lost a friend in battle, knows how difficult it is, and also understands the desire to storm in, to fight, to win, to beat the enemy in honor of those who lost their lives, for those who are living, for the people of Israel and for the State of Israel.”
“We are advancing according to plans, Hamas is suffering heavy blows – over 10,000 munitions have been employed in the attacks on Gaza city, thousands of targets have been struck, thousands of terrorists have been eliminated, from the lowest to the highest ranks. The war is advancing in accordance with our objectives.”
“Everywhere they go, soldiers are describing what they see - terrorists who come out of tunnel shafts, underground tunnels under buildings, under hospitals, under schools, they see it all. This is terror and evil.”
“One of the Hamas systems that has been hit the hardest is the anti-tank array. We have hit a substantial part of it, and most of its commanders. Yesterday, we eliminated the head of this array, as you can see here now [points at image]. We will not stop until we reach them all - all terrorists of all ranks - we are determined to win. The enemy has only two options – either be killed [by the IDF] or surrender with no conditions, there is no third option.”
“The arena of this war is broader - we are on the offensive in the Gaza strip, but we are defending in the North, and we are prepared and ready in other arenas: in Judea and Samaria, the Syrian front, and farther arenas. We are not interested in additional wars, but we are prepared [to defend] the north - IDF troops, are ready and have a strong defense. The IAF is ready for any mission.”
“I have a close relationship with Defense Ministers from all over the world, they call me and speak to me. I speak with my friend, the Secretary of Defense of the United States, General Austin, on a daily basis. What I hear from him as well as from others, is what you and I know – we are on the frontline of the free world - facing a world of darkness and evil, and we must win.”
“I want to address the families of the thousands of brave soldiers who are in Gaza City: I know you are worried, I know this is a difficult time, and I know that you experience a lot of stress. I’ve experienced it personally, and I'm extending my support.
“I want to say clearly to the families of those who were kidnapped:we have not forgotten them; we are determined to bring them back home.”
“I meet the forces on the ground, I pay visits to our bases, and I sense the emotions and strength of the IDF soldiers and the ISA teams. I see their determination and how they operate, fight, and achieve our goals. I trust them completely.”
“I want to send a loud and clear message about the deep sense of confidence and appreciation I have for the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Major General Herzi Halevi, who carries out his work with endless dedication, professionalism, determination, and a great deal of courage and common sense.Thank you”.
In response to media queries:
In regards to the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority:
“The State of Israel is interested in maintaining stability in Judea and Samaria, always and especially during these times. The funds should be transferred immediately so that these may be used by the operational mechanism of the Palestinian Authority and by the sectors of the Palestinian Authority that are dealing with the prevention of terrorism. I think it is only appropriate to uphold the decision of the cabinet as decided several days ago.”
In regards to threats in the northern arena:
“We are prepared with strong defenses in the north. The IAF is prepared for any mission. We have no interest in a war but we will know to operate with force if we are required to do so.”
In regards to Hamas’ use of children as human shields:
“Hamas is a murderous [terrorist] organization that will make use of anything it has; I don’t need to describe to the Israeli public what happened to children, women, and the elderly in the hands of Hamas. Therefore, nothing is beyond our imagination and there is nothing that can’t happen - it is the Hamas organization, it is the ISIS of Gaza. When I spoke about this with Secretary of Defense Austin, he told me they [Hamas] are much worse than ISIS. [He said] I fought ISIS for six years; it is not like what Hamas did”.