Throughout the course of last weekend, a single tweet on X caused fissures to appear among the Israeli governmental system.
Israeli PM posted few minutes after midnight on Sunday, claiming he was not notified of Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israel. Instead, Netanyahu appeared to accuse the military and intelligence officers for the terrorist assault, which claimed the lives of at least 1,400 people in Israel. He said that they had determined that Hamas “was deterred and ready for a settlement” before the strike. The backlash was so harsh that the PM removed the tweet, and confessing “I was wrong.”
There was some controversy after the statement. Top authorities in the political arena attacked Netanyahu for attempting political gameplay at a time when the nation was engaged in a challenging military operation inside Gaza.
According to professionals, the incident validated a growing divide among the armed forces and political setting, raising worries about Netanyahu‘s ability to guide the country through conflict without putting his own ends before of the safety of the nation.
To suggest that Netanyahu was out of line might be the greatest understatement of 2023 a Chatham House analyst believes. “You need a responsible prime minister for this very difficult military campaign, and the main problem for this cabinet is that nobody in the government trusts Netanyahu,” Mekelberg added.
Shortly after October 7, when Hamas attack kicked off, Netanyahu extended the Israeli ruling alliance to include some opposition-based former top military leaders, forming an emergency war council.
Among them came the former secretary of defense, Benny Gantz, who quickly asked that Netanyahu remove his contentious job while endorsing the armed forces and Israel‘s internal spy agency, Shin Bet.
Other authorities then joined in criticizing him harshly. Avigdor Lieberman, a democratic legislator and former minister of defense, claimed that Netanyahu was just engaged in politics and had no concern in defense programs or hostages issue. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesperson for the Israel Army, refused to respond. He declared, “We are at war.”
The heated debate were the most recent indications of strain inside Israeli political system, which includes the war cabinet, as it deals with the fallout from one of the worst intelligence blunders in the nation’s history.
While many in the nation’s security services have acknowledged their flaws, Netanyahu has not. The Israeli prime minister sidestepped the issue of whether he was to blame during a press conference on Saturday before to the controversial tweet.
Relation between the Israeli PM and a significant portion of Israel’s population has already been put to the test. Following the political upheaval brought on by Bibi’s ultra-right hardline administration’s quest for contentious reforms, the conflict broke out. Opponents have criticized the measures as a danger to democratic system since they limited the judiciary’s authority.
For long months since early 2023, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been opposing the judicial reform by protesting across the country. Military reserve troops who vowed to not report for volunteer service were among those opposed to the reform. Some detractors contend that the protesters’ size affected the military’s capacity and preparedness.
Thousands of reserve troops have taken up arms to combat Hamas since the start of war, making it the largest military threat the nation has faced since the conflict with Egypt and Syria 50 years earlier. However, some argue that backing for Netanyahu’s administration does not inevitably equate to solidarity within Israeli system against Hamas.
Netanyahu is nevertheless renowned for his ability to survive in politics. The Israeli PM has held the position for 13 of the previous 14 years, having first assumed office back in 1996.
Even if the war cabinet might face serious internal divisions, Netanyahu’s decision to involve top military personnel in the administration could nevertheless be politically beneficial for his future.