Israeli Defense Force (IDF) chief of staff General Herzi Halevi has expressed deep regret over the failure of the IDF to protect the country when it was attacked by Hamas. In his first public statement since the conflict began, Halevi acknowledged that the IDF had not fulfilled its responsibility to ensure the security of the nation and its citizens. He vowed to investigate the failures and take corrective actions, but also emphasized that it was now time for war against Hamas.
Halevi condemned Hamas as “animals” and “merciless terrorists” who have committed unimaginable acts against innocent men, women, and children. He described their attack on October 7th as “murderous, brutal, and surprising.” Recognizing the magnitude of the situation, Halevi stated that the IDF understands the weight of the mission ahead.
Yahya Sinwar, the ruler of the Gaza Strip, was singled out by Halevi as the mastermind behind the attack. He declared that Sinwar and the entire Hamas system under his command were effectively “dead men.” Halevi pledged to relentlessly pursue and dismantle Hamas and its organization, vowing that Gaza would never be the same again.
Furthermore, Halevi stated that Israel would spare no effort in rescuing the hostages taken by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants. It was reported that approximately 200 people went missing after the Palestinian fighters raided Israeli villages and towns near Gaza over the weekend.
The conflict has already caused a substantial loss of life. According to local officials, around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, and at least 1,100 have lost their lives in Gaza since the start of the hostilities.
It is worth noting that General Herzi Halevi took over as IDF chief of staff in January 2023. He has had previous experience overseeing IDF operations in the Southern Command and military intelligence directorate. The timing of the Hamas attack, on the anniversary of the 1973 war that caught Israel off guard, particularly resonates within the IDF. Historically, military setbacks have led to blame being placed on military leaders, as was the case with the previous IDF chief of staff, David Elazar.
Journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the border with Gaza, which is usually patrolled by three IDF battalions, was left vulnerable due to two battalions being redeployed to the West Bank to provide security for the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Halevi’s Israeli source blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for this decision.
This latest conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated rapidly, leading to widespread casualties, destruction, and humanitarian crises. The IDF, under General Herzi Halevi’s leadership, is now determined to respond decisively and dismantle Hamas to ensure the safety and security of the Israeli people.