Israel’s military intelligence chief resigns, taking responsibility for Oct. 7 failures


((JEWISH REVIEW)) — Israel’s military intelligence chief resigned, saying he assumed responsibility for the intelligence failures that failed to prevent the Oct. 7 Hamas invasion that launched the current war.

The resignation letter Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva sent Monday to the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Herzi Halevi, is unusual in that he assumed responsibility for the failures even before the launch of a state inquiry into the missteps that left Israel unprepared for the attack.

“The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the mission we were sworn to,” Haliva wrote in his letter, noting that he had first told Halevi of his intention to quit at the outset of the war. “I have borne that black day with me, every day, every night. “I will forever bear the terrible pain of the war.”

Haliva does not detail the intelligence failures, but a number of exposes in Israeli media have said that intelligence commanders ignored warnings from army trackers — many of them women — positioned on the Gaza border in the months leading up to the war that Hamas appeared to be carrying out exercises aimed at an invasion.

Haliva said he will stay in the job until a replacement is found. He called for a government inquiry into the failures leading up to Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists killed some 1,200 people and kidnapped approximately 250. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing war, most of them civilians, in addition to more than 250 Israeli soldiers. More than 130 hostages remain in captivity.

“I am convinced, for the sake of the state of Israel, for the sake of the people of Israel, and for coming generations, that an official commission of inquiry must be established that is able to investigate and to make clear, thoroughly, exhaustively, pointedly and in depth, all the factors and circumstances that that led to these difficult occurrences,” Haliva wrote.

Mass protests in Israel calling for accountability and for Netanyahu’s resignation or replacement via elections have increased in recent weeks, and there have been similar calls from Israel’s allies, most notably from Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who as majority leader is the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history.

Netanyahu has not taken personal responsibility for the failures preceding the Oct. 7 attack and has rebuffed calls for elections, which he says would sap the will and focus of troops while the war is on. He says inquiries will occur once the war is over. His supporters have already been building a public case against others, including Haliva, who they claim misled Netanyahu.