The rifts and disarray amongst Israel’s high leaders erupted into the open on Sunday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared accountable the army and safety institution for the failures that led to the shock Hamas assault on Oct. 7 — at the same time as Israeli forces have been broadening their floor battle in Gaza.
The feedback by Mr. Netanyahu on X, previously Twitter, prompted a livid response, together with from inside his personal battle cupboard. The submit was deleted, and the Israeli chief apologized in a brand new submit, saying: “I was wrong.”
Among the primary to name out Mr. Netanyahu’s feedback was Benny Gantz, a centrist former protection minister and army chief who, for the sake of nationwide unity, left the ranks of the parliamentary opposition to hitch Mr. Netanyahu’s emergency battle cupboard in the times after the Oct. 7 bloodbath. At least 1,400 individuals have been killed in the Hamas assaults, the deadliest day for Israel in its 75-year historical past, and greater than 220 individuals have been taken as hostages to Gaza.
Although many senior officers, together with army and safety chiefs and the protection minister, Yoav Gallant, have accepted some accountability for Israel being caught so off-guard, Mr. Netanyahu has declined to take action. He has mentioned a number of instances, most lately at a information convention on Saturday night, that after the battle powerful questions could be asked of all people, together with himself. Mr. Netanyahu has been in energy for 14 of the previous 16 years.
Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to publicly settle for blame has additional shaken confidence in his management, which had fallen even earlier than the battle, in half due to his efforts to push by a judicial overhaul that sparked enormous nationwide protests. Opinion surveys since Oct. 7 have indicated overwhelming public belief in the army and plummeting religion in authorities officers.
The information convention on Saturday was an try by the federal government to point out unity: Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Gallant and Mr. Gantz appeared alongside each other, and the prime minister answered questions from reporters for the primary time since Oct. 7.
Many of the questions centered on accountability for the Hamas assault. Hours afterward, Mr. Netanyahu sought to deflect blame from himself, as a substitute directing it on the safety institution — and particularly the heads of army intelligence and the Shin Bet inner safety company.
“Under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of war intentions on the part of Hamas,” his submit learn. “On the contrary, the assessment of the entire security echelon, including the head of military intelligence and the head of Shin Bet, was that Hamas was deterred and was seeking an arrangement.”
“This was the assessment presented time and again to the prime minister and the cabinet by all the security echelon and the intelligence community, including right up until the outbreak of the war,” it added.
Mr. Gantz responded with a sharp post expressing his full help for the army and the Shin Bet, which is taking part in a key position in the battle, and urging Mr. Netanyahu to retract his assertion.
“When we are at war, leadership means displaying responsibility, deciding to do the right things and strengthening the forces so that they will be able to carry out what we are demanding of them,” Mr. Gantz wrote.
The centrist chief of the opposition, Yair Lapid, mentioned Mr. Netanyahu had “crossed a red line.” Another former army chief, Gabi Ashkenazi, told Mr. Netanyahu to take away his submit, including, “We are at war.”
Following the backlash, Mr. Netanyahu’s submit was eliminated. In a brand new submit late Sunday morning, exhibiting an uncommon degree of contrition, he wrote: “I was wrong. Things I said following the news conference should not have been said and I apologize for that.”
Expressing his help for the safety department heads, the army chief of employees and commanders and troopers in the sphere, he added: “Together we will win.”