Photo Credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90
Disgraced Commander of the IDF Military Intelligence Aharon Haliva with a friend, November 4, 2022.

Finance Minister and Religious Zionism Chairman Bezalel Smotrich on Wednesday declared that “the current Chief of Staff cannot appoint Haliva’s successor. He (Chief Herzi Halevi) is part of the failure and is responsible for it, and cannot be the one to appoint the commanders who would fix it.”

Departing Military Intelligence Commander Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva is one of a few IDF officers most directly associated with the Conceptzia that led to the October 7, 2023, IDF capitulation before the waves of thousands of marauding Hamas pogromists.


On the night before the attack, Haliva, who was in a hotel in Eilat, celebrating Simchat Torah, received a call from the IDF and Shin Bet top officers about unusual Hamas activity along the Gaza border. Haliva, who had been lulled into false confidence by an entire year of similar Hamas maneuvers, refused to be bothered in the middle of his vacation by yet another false alarm and said as much to his fellow commanders on the phone. He then went back to sleep, even as the first terrorists were already breaching the fences on their way to slaughter whole battalions of IDF soldiers in their sleep.

On October 17, 2023, Haliva issued a letter to his soldiers about the failure to warn of the attack, saying, “We failed in our most important mission, and as head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate I bear full responsibility for the failure.”

On Monday this week, Haliva resigned as head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate.

Smotrich wrote on Wednesday: “I wanted to praise General Haliva; on the eve of Passover, a time of stately and unifying holiday atmosphere, the one who sacrificed his best years for Israel’s security takes responsibility for the failures of October 7 and wishes to end his commission.

“But then I read the letter he sent to the Chief of Staff. An ocean of highfalutin words, zero acceptance of responsibility. No admission of error nor recognition of the failure and its reasons. One more responsibility acceptance like this one and we would all be lost. Also – an improper engagement in politics.”

After describing the upside-down relationship between the military and the civilian government in Israel, a country that was described as a military that has a state rather than the other way around, a situation Smotrich said was reflected in countless encounters between Netanyahu’s cabinet and the security brass, the finance minister turned on Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi’s plan to appoint Haliva’s successor.

“Let’s start with the fact that the current Chief of Staff cannot appoint Haliva’s  replacement. [Chief Herzi Halevi] is part of the failure and is responsible for it, and cannot the one to appoint the commanders who would fix it. We need offensive and determined commanders who will carry out a conceptual revolution in the IDF and return it to its glory days before the Oslo concepts took hold of its senior commanders.

On March 17, Smotrich protested Chief Halevi’s plan to appoint 52 senior IDF commanders to replace the ones who gave us October 7, including the Southern Command Military Intelligence Commander, and the officer in charge of humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Smotrich announced: “I will demand that the cabinet stop the round of appointments in the IDF. If the chief of staff does not understand on his own that he should not be involved with non-urgent appointments – we will do it through the cabinet.”

Smotrich wrote an urgent letter to PM Netanyahu at the time, stressing that “the current IDF Command has only one mandate – to win the war. That, and nothing but. They do not have a mandate to shape the IDF of the coming years and lead its reform. Unfortunately, despite the public criticism, the Chief of Staff does not retract his intention to make the appointments, as does the Minister of Defense, and therefore there is no escape from bringing a decision to the Cabinet to order the Chief of Staff to refrain from making the appointments.”

Hours later, Smotrich repeated his call at the cabinet and was rebuffed by DM Yoav Gallant, who told him he shouldn’t focus only on the IDF’s failure to avoid the October 7 attack, but also on its quick recovery from that most devastating blow to wage a forceful counter-attack.

Gallant then pointed a finger at Smotrich, telling him, “You are harming Israel’s security and undermining the security system for political reasons only. This is always a serious offense, but it is so, especially in war. I will not allow anyone to turn the IDF into a militia in the service of one party or another.”

The sad part at that cabinet meeting was not the fact that the DM sided with the commander of his army, but the fact that Netanyahu sided with Gallant, telling his ministers that the cabinet would only appoint the next IDF chief of Staff, but all the appointments below that rank are Halevi’s until he is replaced.

Halevi himself, who was present at the cabinet meeting, kept mum.


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