Four days into the war and the governing coalition was still silent. Not only that, all offices and authorities that were supposed to explain reality to Israeli society in front of the camera and provide the necessary services such as logistics, military, security, psychological assistance and much more were as if swallowed up in the first days of the war. As if everyone had left the country and was in shock.
No one addressed the people of Israel directly to reassure them in the first few days. No one went into the news studios to explain, to express sympathy, to take responsibility, to answer questions. Zero. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was kind enough to release a short video promising that we would win. The next day he went on air for a brief statement and that was it.
No one spoke to the public, no one spoke to the injured, no one met with the survivors and families. Entire families were kidnapped and massacred and government officials were nowhere to be seen. Paralyzed and shocked. Then they woke up. And when they woke up, what did they do? They turned to the media.
The first to address the world and the media was former Israeli Information Minister Galit Distel-Atbaryan. The one who was given a superfluous ministry tailored to the size of her ego and who complained ever since she took office.
I’m sorry, but this minister made a fool of herself on camera. She knew exactly who was responsible for the strategic failure of her governing coalition. Danny Kushmaro, the 55-year-old journalist, news anchor and TV presenter from N12. And why? Kushmaro dared to say that there were problems in the Israeli Air Force and that the fighter pilots who opposed judicial reform wanted to refuse their voluntary reserve service. Kushmaro is responsible for the fiasco in the south, not her government, not Benjamin Netanyahu.
And who was the first minister to come to the south to talk to residents, apart from Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant, who met with military units in the south? Israel’s Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir only arrived in Sderot on Wednesday afternoon. Four days after the attack in the south and the rocket attacks, a minister made his way to the south. None of the ministers had the courage to go into the firing zone. And what is Minister Ben-Gvir doing in Sderot? He accuses the media of spreading fake news.
And when someone pointed out to Ben-Gvir that this made no sense, he began shouting instead of expressing compassion and mercy or reaching out to the concerned residents and traumatized citizens. He repeatedly shouted at anyone who criticized him on camera. Sderot is a stronghold of right-wing Likud voters.
The first two ministers to appear on camera three days ago and publicly apologize for the failures in the south were Yoav Kisch and Tzachi HaNegbi. “We are responsible for the situation in the country. All of us engaged in nonsense,” Education Minister Kisch said in an interview with Ynet. He is the first minister in his government coalition to publicly take responsibility after the surprise attack. “No one will shirk responsibility. It happened under our government and we will take responsibility. The families can say whatever they want, I promise them one thing: Hamas will no longer exist after the war.” National Security Council Chairman and Minister Tzachi HaNegbi also admitted that he was wrong in his assessment that the terrorist organization in Gaza was deterred. Everyone else is silent.
The Israeli government bears sole responsibility not only for the greatest failure in the history of the State of Israel, but also for everything that is to come. Israel’s largest and most right-wing ruling coalition has fallen into a state of shock, and it was clear in the media. The ministers simply weren’t there. The only people responsible were the citizens themselves; it was the people who looked after themselves in the first hours of the struggle and in the first days of the war. Only the Israeli army seemed to pull itself together in those early days. It took the government much longer. The people are not only angry with their government, but with the entire Israeli parliament. I hear again and again from all sides of Israeli society that after war and victory, the entire political leadership, the Knesset with all its 120 members, must be replaced.
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