Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett on Tuesday told the 10th annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv that he supported the State’s Auditor’s decision to publicize his critical report on the IDF’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Bennett said the report is an earthquake in the security landscape which opens up opportunities. He also said the clear conclusion from the report is that the mental rigidity of the state’s leadership was at the root of the 2014 failures.
“We must say honestly, the concept of security fixation has collapsed, and we must switch to a new security concept: no more fixation and shuffling about, but victory,” Bennett stated. “Clear and total victory. Victory that doesn’t require explanations and excuses. Victory that doesn’t require public relations, but instead speaks for itself without words.”
The State Auditor’s report released on Monday this week is a personal indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, above anything else. It includes personal comments regarding his manner, and blames him for the absence of operative plans to fight against the Hamas’ tunnels threat. It goes out of its way to blame Netanyahu for keeping his cabinet in the dark about the terror tunnels, and for the fact that he did not conduct a single strategic discussion of the tunnels.
In other words, the Auditor’s report might as well have been written by Naftali Bennett, who made a huge point before and during the 2015 elections about his own struggle to get the security cabinet, the IDF leadership and finally the IDF units on the ground target those tunnels.
Indeed, a recently published protocol of a cabinet meeting on June 7, 2014, a day when the Hamas launched about 100 rockets into Israeli territory, cites then Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon arguing in favor of seeking what he deemed a plausible ceasefire, arguing it was wrong for the IDF to “strip them of their tunnels, [because] we must maximize the Egyptian mediation.”
Bennett, for his part, at the same cabinet meeting, was arguing feverishly for action to neutralize those tunnels.
On Tuesday, Bennett celebrated the obvious superiority of his strategic thinking: no more 50-day wars that result in a tie; giving the IDF a clear and simple target – victory; and coming out of the echo chamber shared by politicians and the media elite about containing terrorism.
Bennett was followed by the deposed defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, who openly accused him of seeking Facebook likes rather than earnestly caring about the security needs of the state. In fact, he spoke as if he was not at all the most harshly criticized defense minister since Ehud barak (who messed up the first two Gaza operations, also spilling IDF blood to score a tie).
Ya’alon may be the only Israeli who doesn’t realize that Ya’alon’s future is behind him.
An Email The Jewish Press Online received from Habayit Hayehudi cites Bennett’s speech as a long, and rather exciting list of slogans. Here are a few:
Missiles penetrate promises.
The rockets that hit Haifa, Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva are the reasons that Israelis moved to the right.
The heart of our country – Judea and Samaria – is our only truly quiet space.
Since Oslo, when we give up territory, it becomes a terrorist base.
The Arab Spring became a Muslim Winter.
Finally, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been embroiled in a lengthy saga of alleged corruption, which should come to its end either way in a few weeks, according to the Police Commissioner. But somehow it looks as if Israelis would be more willing to forgive the PM for smoking thousand-dollar gift cigars than for losing the creative edge of the defense apparatus.