Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued an apology for his previous remarks blaming the country’s security services for their failure to predict the Hamas attack on October 7. The attack resulted in the tragic loss of 1,200 lives. Netanyahu’s apology comes in response to widespread criticism from the country’s media as well as members of his own war cabinet.
In a late-night press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu’s office posted on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), stating that the Prime Minister was not warned of Hamas’s intentions for war. They further asserted that security officials, including the heads of military intelligence and the Shin Bet, believed that Hamas was deterred and seeking a settlement. However, these claims faced backlash from Israeli officials and politicians.
Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet and former defense minister, strongly urged Netanyahu to retract his statement and cease his involvement in the issue. Gantz emphasized that during times of war, it is crucial for leadership to show responsibility and support the forces on the ground. Any action or statement to the contrary only weakens the people’s ability to stand strong.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid echoed Gantz’s sentiments, accusing the Prime Minister of crossing a red line. Lapid criticized Netanyahu for attempting to shift blame onto Israeli soldiers who are bravely fighting against Hamas and Hezbollah, instead of providing them with the support they need.
In response to the criticism, Netanyahu issued a formal apology on Sunday, acknowledging that he was wrong in his previous statements. He expressed full backing and support for all heads of the security services and sent strength to the Chief of Staff and the IDF soldiers on the frontlines. Netanyahu also acknowledged the need for answers after the war, including himself.
During the press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu refrained from assigning blame for the Hamas attack but described it as an awful debacle. Earlier this month, US House Foreign Affairs Committee head Michael McCaul claimed that Egypt had warned Israel of potential violence several days before the attack. However, Netanyahu dismissed reports of the specific Egyptian warning as “totally fake news.”
The Prime Minister’s retraction and apology highlight a sense of accountability and a recognition of the importance of supporting the country’s security services during times of war. As the conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah continues, it is crucial for Israeli leadership to unite and provide unwavering support for the soldiers fighting on the frontlines. The need for answers and accountability after the war further emphasizes the importance of learning from mistakes and ensuring the safety and security of the Israeli people.