Israeli officials acknowledged their failure to anticipate the Hamas attack on October 7 and expressed their willingness to take responsibility, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refrained from making such statements.
Israeli officials promise a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the events that accompanied the day, which is described as the most difficult for Israel in its history.
According to Israeli media expectations, the investigations will ultimately lead to the dismissal of a large number of securities, military and political officials, led by Netanyahu.
Israeli officials say an investigation into the failures will begin after the war ends.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Monday in a speech in the Knesset, “There is a clear and fundamental commitment here – to conduct decisive investigations that don’t lend themselves to interpretation, and examinations of all kinds, and to draw lessons and results… There is no doubt about that and no two disagree about it… This is an existential necessity for any survival-seeking nation that has been subjected to such a horrific disaster – but it must not harm the war effort”.
Since October 7, statements and statements have been issued by Israeli security officials and politicians who acknowledged responsibility for the failure, which wasn’t issued by Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said in a speech before the Israeli Knesset, on Monday, “There are many questions about the disaster that befell us… You will investigate everything to the end… We started implementing instant lessons… Now we are focused on one goal – to unite forces and advance towards victory”.
In his statement, Netanyahu didn’t go so far as to acknowledge responsibility, even though he is the highest-ranking official in Israel for politics, security, and the army.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu rejected Israeli media reports about his inaction after the attack began.
His office said in a written statement, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was updated at 06:29 on Saturday (October 7, 2023), and not before that, when the fighting broke out… He immediately went to the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv and conducted an assessment of the situation and held a meeting of the security cabinet”.
But these words don’t reach the level of the acknowledgment of responsibility announced by the head of the Israeli General Security Agency, Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, on October 14, which he distributed to members of his agency.
He wrote in the letter, “Eight days ago, we were subjected to a deadly terrorist attack, by a cruel and ruthless enemy, and despite the series of measures we took, unfortunately, last Saturday, we were unable to issue sufficient warning that would allow the attack to be thwarted”.
“As the person who heads the institution, the responsibility for this falls on me,” Barr added, “There will be time to conduct investigations, but now is the time to fight”.
Last Saturday, the head of the Israeli National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, admitted his mistake when he said that the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip was deterred, stressing that his country received a severe blow.
Just six days before the surprise attack launched by Hamas and other armed Palestinian factions, Hanegbi said, “Hamas is very deterred and realizes the consequences of further challenge”.
But in a press conference on Saturday evening, Hanegbi said, according to what was reported by Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, “This is my mistake, and it reflects the error of all evaluation factors over many years, and more so in the recent period, when we believed that Hamas had learned the lesson of guarding the walls, (An operation launched by Israel on Gaza in May 2021), at which time it received a decisive blow”.
On Sunday, the Israeli Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, admitted that his country’s government and its security leadership failed to preserve the security of citizens.
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted Smotrich as saying, “I bear responsibility for what was and what will be… We must honestly admit that we have failed… The leadership of the state and the leadership of the security establishment have failed to preserve the security of citizens”.
He added, “The sudden attack carried out by Hamas was horrific, such unimaginable cruelty”.
Israelis express their dissatisfaction that Netanyahu hasn’t acknowledged responsibility for what happened to this day, despite admissions of responsibility by officials in his government.
The prominent Israeli writer for Maariv newspaper, Ben Caspit, said in a tweet on X, on Tuesday, “Netanyahu – take responsibility!”
He added, “The campaign that Netanyahu is running to remove responsibility from him shouldn’t be ignored in silence… There is a limit”.
He continued, “The chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet, and the ministers in the government all bear responsibility, and only Netanyahu escapes… From today, we will raise it every day, every day, until Netanyahu bears responsibility for the tragic failure that occurred in his term”.
Caspit considered that he shouldn’t be allowed to evade responsibility.
For his part, Haaretz writer Nehemiah Strassler said, “Not tomorrow… Not next week… Netanyahu must go now”.
Strassler wrote in Haaretz on Tuesday, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unfit… He cannot remain in office even for one more day… We saw this on Saturday night, when he stood at the microphone, pale and pale despite a large amount of makeup, and gave a strange, empty speech… His face revealed the shock he was experiencing… It’s clear that he is unable to lead the nation in war”.
He added, “All moves in the war and all diplomatic contacts will target only one goal remaining in power… This won’t enable victory in the war… Therefore, Netanyahu must go”.
He considered that Netanyahu now also poses a clear existential threat to the State of Israel and its citizens.
Strassler wrote, “At the first word of the war, Netanyahu began the vital work to save himself… He and his mouthpieces were quick to blame the terrible massacre on the army, military intelligence, Shin Bet, Gantz and the anarchists of the protest, those pilots and fighters who are now saving the country… As for him? Pure as snow… He shouldn’t be blamed for anything”.
Investigations are expected to begin after the end of the current war.