Rocket fired from Gaza at southern Israel as tensions in Jerusalem rise
After more than a half year of quiet on the Gaza border, the Iron Dome anti-missile system shot down a rocket fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.
The single rocket comes as tensions are escalating in Jerusalem during the convergence of the Ramadan and Passover holidays. As of publication, no group claimed responsibility for the rocket.
Israel has been widely condemned by Arab governments after police entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound after rioters threw stones at police and Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall in two separate incidents.
The Jordanian foreign minister summoned the Israeli ambassador today due to what he called Israeli violations at the Temple Mount.
Israel's response to the lone rocket will be watched carefully at home as well as abroad. With the coalition having lost its slim one-vote majority already over issues specific to Judaism when one member said she would not longer vote with the majority, the Islamist party, Ra'am – with four seats – has now frozen its participation in the coalition over Muslim-Jewish clashes in the Old City and West Bank.
If Israel's military response is strong, it could evoke more international condemnations. If it is weak, the opposition is likely to accuse the coalition of being unfit to lead the country.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an emergency consultation this evening with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Earlier he responded to accusations that Israel is inciting the violence that has unfolded in Jerusalem.
"I view with utmost severity the remarks accusing Israel of the violence directed against us, and there are those who are encouraging rock-throwing and the use of violence against the citizens of the State of Israel," he said. "This is a reward for the inciters, especially Hamas, which are trying to ignite violence in Jerusalem."
Bennett said that Israel was intent on enabling worshippers of all three religions "to celebrate in Jerusalem," but added that "forces will continue to provide security for the citizens of the State of Israel."
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.