Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister took a gamble with his pre-emptive strike against Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza, less than three months before he is to compete in general elections to retain his job.

Yair Lapid had counted on Gaza’s militant Hamas rules to stay out of the fight, thus enabling Isreal to weaken Hamas’ smaller sister group while avoiding a full-blown escalation. At the same time, he may also have gained political ground ahead of the polls. With a cease-fire between the sides holding on Monday, after three days of violence, the calculation appears to have been accurate.

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