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Shas Chairman Eli Yishai on Monday called for the formation of an emergency government due to the escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

A senior official in the Military Intelligence said Monday that militants in the Gaza Strip fired 20 Iranian-made Grad-type rockets at southern Israel over the course of the Israel Defense Forces offensive in recent days. Eleven Qassam rockets also struck the western Negev on Monday.

Speaking at a Shas Party meeting, Yishai said "this is a battle for existence. The northern front [Iran and Hezbollah] is not calming down. The diplomatic option is not realistic and is not being considered. I will act to bring about the formation of an emergency national government in order to deal with the problems facing all of us, in a practical way. The security situation is complex and difficult."

According to Yishai, "We must hit the terrorists with all our might, and hunt every last one of them down." He explained that the current IDF actions in the Gaza Strip, aimed at stopping the escalating rocket fire on southern Israeli towns, will continue, and could last several months.

Yishai announced that in light of the precarious security situation, Shas has decided to vote with the coalition against the opposition's no confidence vote in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's directive that all construction in East Jerusalem must be authorized by the Prime Minister's Office. Shas had originally intended to vote against the directive, to underscore the importance they place on the issue of Jerusalem and how much they oppose the division of the capital under a potential peace deal with the Palestinians.