update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu apologizes after seeming to blame security forces for Oct. 7

"I was wrong. The things I said ... should not have been said and I apologize for that," tweeted the Israeli premier, adding that Israel's security forces have his "full backing."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv. Oct. 28, 2023. Photo by Dana Kopel/POOL.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv. Oct. 28, 2023. Photo by Dana Kopel/POOL.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Sunday for an earlier statement which appeared to pin the blame for failing to prevent the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre on Israel’s security services.

After a joint press conference on Saturday night, Netanyahu tweeted that “at no point” had he been given a warning regarding the Hamas terror group’s “intention to start a war.”

“On the contrary, all the defense officials, including the heads of the Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency], assessed that Hamas was deterred. This was the assessment submitted time after time to the prime minister and the cabinet by all the entities in the defense and the intelligence community right up until the war broke out,” he wrote.

That tweet was deleted on Sunday morning, shortly before Netanyahu tweeted: “I was wrong. Things I said following the press conference should not have been said and I apologize for that. I give full backing to all the heads of the security arms. I am strengthening the Chief of Staff and the commanders and soldiers of the IDF who are at the front and fighting for the homeland. Together we will win.”

War Cabinet member Benny Gantz demanded that Netanyahu retract his statement prior to its removal, tweeting that the prime minister must “stop dealing with this issue.”

“I would like to back up and strengthen all the security forces and the soldiers of the IDF—including the Chief of Staff, the head of the IDF and the head of the Shin Bet. When we are at war, leadership must show responsibility, decide to do the right things and strengthen the forces in a way that they can to realize what we demand from them. Any other action or statement harms the resilience of the people and its military forces,” wrote Gantz.

Asked on Sunday about Netanyahu’s statement that the security forces had not warned him of Hamas’s plans, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari refused to answer the question, saying that ” we are in the middle of a war, and are focused on the war.”

When pressed about reports Netanyahu may have received prior warning about the Hamas assault, Hagari said:

“We in the IDF and the ISA will conduct a thorough investigation ourselves and present everything to the public, because we are built on public trust and therefore we will present everything. Now we are fighting, focused on the war. That is my answer.”

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