Hamas being able to threaten Tel Aviv from the air is, as they say, a game-changer. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area is home to about 40 percent of Israel's 7.7 million people, and its cafes and beach life have long provided a comfortable cocoon, far from conflicts over Israeli settlements in the West Bank or the threats of Hamas in Gaza.
The residents of southern Israel, near Gaza, have long lived with the terror of rocket attacks, and in many ways have grown used to it. The residents of teeming Gaza, hemmed in by both Israel and Egypt, are likewise used to the terror of far more powerful Israeli bombs that rain down on towns and cities in response to Palestinian rocket attacks.
Where the red line lies
But a permanent extension of that envelope of fear to Tel Aviv, which attracts foreign investment to its high tech industries, would be intolerable for Israel. It could have an impact on both investment in the country and on the immigration of Jews to Israel, who are often urged to make aliyah (return) to the Jewish state under the argument that it's the only place where Jews can be truly safe.
That's why 16,000 Israeli army reservists were called up this morning. If more long-range rockets strike deep into the center of Israel, the argument for a ground incursion will grow stronger for Netanyahu. The IDF says most of the 300 bombs it has fired into Gaza have targeted long-range launching sites and warehouses for the Iranian made Fajr rockets. But has it got most of them? Or just a few?