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Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to apologise on Sunday after a furious backlash from across the political spectrum over his claim that Israel’s security establishment had not warned him of Hamas’s plan to attack the country.
The Israeli prime minister had said in a social media post on Saturday night that “at no time and no stage” was he given advance warning of Hamas’s October 7 assault, which is the deadliest on Israel’s territory.
“All security officials, including the head of army intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet [internal security service], estimated that Hamas was deterred,” Netanyahu wrote on X.
The comments drew a storm of condemnation from Netanyahu’s allies and foes alike, with Benny Gantz — one of five men in Israel’s war cabinet and a former army chief of staff — demanding that the prime minister retract the statement.
“When we are at war, the leadership must show responsibility, decide to do the right things and strengthen the forces in a way that they can carry out what we demand of them,” Gantz wrote on X.
A second member of the war cabinet, Gadi Eisenkot — who is also a former military chief of staff — also criticised Netanyahu’s statement, calling on the prime minister to “cease from criticising the services that he’s responsible for”.
“It’s essential at this time to fully back the heads of the security services and to stand by them unreservedly,” Eisenkot added.
The row is the latest sign of the tensions within Israel’s leadership as it battles with the fallout from the October 7 attack, which is widely seen as one of Israel’s biggest-ever intelligence failures. Analysts have compared it to the country’s failure to anticipate the joint attack by Egyptian and Syrian forces in 1973 that began the Yom Kippur war.
Amid a blizzard of criticism, Netanyahu’s original post was…
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