Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90
The conceptzia folks: then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Gush Katif expulsion defense minister Shaul Mofaz.

Thursday night’s meeting of the political-security cabinet ended in a blowout after right-wing ministers attacked the Chief of Staff, General Herzi Halevi, and Minister Benny Gantz for setting up a team to investigate the events of October 7 that include some of the granddaddies of the conceptzia which led to the massacre.

The defense minister during the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, Shaul Mofaz will lead the team, which will also include the former chief of military intelligence during the expulsion Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash––who was an active leader of the push to stop serving in the reserves in protest of the judicial reform, and Shlomo “Sami” Turgeman, who was commander of the southern command from 2013 to 2015, the years when then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz invented the latest version of the conceptzia, arguing that after the beatings it absorbed in the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas was deterred and should be plied with cash and jobs.


Needless to say, the only ministers who attacked the conceptzia, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, as well as two prominent Likud ministers, David Amsalem and Miri Regev, were irate and attacked the chief of staff for essentially looking to investigate his own colossal failure that led to the death of thousands of Israelis.

According to reports, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tried to silence the impolite ministers, and the senior security officials at the meeting eventually fled the room.

The IDF’s need to save its hide is obvious, seeing as there have been reports that for more than a year before the massacre, the IDF Intelligence Division had information about the Hamas attack plan on dozens of settlements and IDF outposts, with a simultaneous breach of the border fence at dozens of points. Last week, the New York Times reported that although the IDF had information about the Hamas plan, the military made no plan to deal with a large-scale invasion from Gaza.

As Yaakov Amidror, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former National Security Advisor put it: “The army does not prepare itself for things it believes are impossible.” As a result of that conceptual failure, on the day of the massacre, soldiers communicated with each other via impromptu WhatsApp groups and relied on social media reports for information about the invasion. One of the commanders in the field ordered the soldiers who were manning combat helicopters to check reports on Telegram to select targets for attack.

The idea of appointing Mofaz is maddening: as defense minister he eliminated every facet of Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip, exiling some 8,000 Jewish settlers and removing the IDF from key control points, thus laying the groundwork for the Hamas takeover three years later.

Jewish settlers protest the Gush Katif expulsion. Without Israeli presence in Gaza, Hamas thrived. / Flash90


Miri Regev: “I want to ask about the publication according to which investigation teams were formed, and you appointed Shaul Mofaz and Commander of the Southern Command Sami Turgeman to investigate the conduct of what happened on 7/10.”

The Chief of Staff: “No investigations have begun.”

Ben Gvir: “The question is whether teams were appointed to investigate.”

The Chief of Staff: “We haven’t started an investigation yet.”

Smotrich: “You’re not denying it.”

Regev to the Chief of Staff: “You are not answering me and I want it to be clear. We have quite a few questions about the conduct of the army, about what happened, but we keep telling ourselves, ‘This is not the appropriate time, we are at war,’ and you at this time are starting to investigate?”

At this point, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz began to intervene and defend the position of Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

Gallant to Regev: “I want to respond to the slams.”

Ben Gvir: “Not every criticism is a slam, we are allowed to ask the chief of staff questions, we are the ministers and this is our job.”

The Chief of Staff: “This is our professional review, not of policy, but of how the IDF acted.”

Gallant: “I didn’t know about the investigation, but I give the Chief of Staff my full support, it’s his job to check and investigate. If the Chief of Staff decided to form an investigative team – I back him up.”

Ben Gvir: “The problem is not only the timing, while the war is going on, but also who the appointees are. How could you place Shaul Mofaz, the defense minister of the expulsion, as an investigator? You’re letting the cat keep watch on the cream.”

Gantz then said furiously: “What’s the connection? The IDF is conducting a professional review, now you’ll start saying it’s the ‘conceptzia.’”

Ben Gvir: “Of course the conceptzia, it’s the conceptzia, and those who were part of the conceptzia conception cannot themselves be the investigators.”

At one point, Minister Benny Gantz hollered: “Stop attacking the Chief of Staff. You’ve gone completely mad.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who remained silent for most of the heated debate, stood up when the arguments had turned into a shouting match, and told the Chief of Staff: “Sometimes you have to listen to the ministers. The meeting is over.”


Finally, the mainstream media are having a ball, condemning the “outrageous behavior” of the four ministers during the cabinet debate. Unfortunately, Friday night is a time when only the left gets to have a say in the most popular TV news shows, while the right-wing pundits, most of whom keep Shabbat, remain out of the discussions. Channel 14, the only major TV channel promoting right-wing ideas, goes off the air at candlelighting time.

Minister Smotrich attempted to fill the void ahead of Shabbat with the following press release answering many of the left-leaning mainstream media’s bashing points:

  1. Politically loaded leaks from the cabinet are a terrible thing.
  2. Yesterday’s discussion did not “explode.” The Prime Minister determined in advance that it would end at midnight.
  3. Indeed, during the final five minutes there was a stormy discussion on the issue of the investigation team, but the high tones were between the ministers and not directed at the Chief of Staff.
  4. The discussion revolved around three issues: is it right to engage in investigations during the war; are the investigations an internal military thing or is it better to involve the political echelon; the composition of the investigating team, with Mofaz who is a distinct political figure and Ze’evi-Farkash who led a call for refusal in the months before the war.
  5. My position:
    * Operative investigations designed to draw lessons relevant to the continuation of the war must be done during the war, all the rest belongs after the war. As far as I understand, this is also the position of the Chief of Staff.
    * As long as it is about tactical operational investigations of where the intelligence was and where each force was, etc., it is definitely an internal matter of the army. If it goes beyond that, meaning: how we got here, what has been wrong with our perception of security policy in recent decades, and what needs to be changed strategically, it must be led by the political echelon.
    * Regarding the composition of the investigation team: it was possible to find more suitable and less political people, most importantly to maintain the neutrality of the IDF and the public’s trust in it.
  6. Questions and criticism from the political echelon to the commanders of the IDF are not “slamming” and do not contradict our full support. It is permissible and even desirable to ask the army questions and also to criticize it. The attempts to prevent this are undemocratic and above all very dangerous. This is the first lesson from the first investigation of October 7.

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