Israeli Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure To Prevent October 7 Terrorist Attack

Major General Aharon Haliva’s resignation could set the stage for more fallout from Israel’s top security brass over Hamas’ attack.

AP/Ohad Zwigenberg, file
An Israeli soldier at Sderot, Israel, on October 7, 2023. AP/Ohad Zwigenberg, file

TEL AVIV, Israel — The head of Israel’s military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday over the failures surrounding Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel’s history.

Major General Aharon Haliva’s resignation could set the stage for more fallout from Israel’s top security brass over Hamas’ attack, when terrorists broke through Israel’s border defenses, rampaged through Israeli communities unchallenged for hours and killed 1,200 people, most civilians, while taking roughly 250 hostages into Gaza. That attack set off the war against Hamas in Gaza, now in its seventh month.

“The intelligence directorate under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the horrible pain of the war with me forever,” General Haliva wrote in his resignation letter, which was provided by the military.

Shortly after the war, General Haliva had publicly said that he shouldered blame for not preventing the assault as the head of the military department responsible for providing the government and the military with intelligence warnings and daily alerts.

The military said in the statement that the military chief of staff accepted General Haliva’s request to resign and thanked him for his 38 years of service.

General Haliva, as well as other military and security leaders, were widely expected to resign in response to the glaring failures that led up to October 7 and the scale of its ferocity.

The timing of the resignations has been unclear, though, because Israel is still fighting Hamas in Gaza and battling the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the north. 

Tensions with Iran are also at a high following attacks between the two enemies. Some military experts have said resignations at a time when Israel is engaged on multiple fronts is irresponsible and could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

While General Haliva and others have accepted blame for failing to stop the attack, others have stopped short, most notably Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has said he will answer tough questions about his role but has not outright acknowledged direct responsibility for allowing the attack to unfold. 

He has also not indicated that he will step down, although a growing protest movement is demanding elections be held soon.

The Hamas attack, which came on a Jewish holiday, caught Israel and its vaunted security establishment entirely off guard. Israelis’ sense of faith in their military — seen as one of the country’s most trustworthy institutions — was shattered in the face of Hamas’ onslaught. The resignation could help restore some of that trust.

The New York Sun

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