Israeli Security Chief Slams ‘Lame’ Attack On Iran, Deepening Division Among War Leaders

Days ago, The Wall Street Journal featured a headline that underscored Israel’s war leaders don’t trust one another. This comes as they are dealing simultaneously with the operation in Gaza, repelling Hezbollah daily drone and missile attacks in the north, and of course the new tit-for-tat crisis with Iran.

“Long-simmering grudges and arguments over how best to fight Hamas have soured relations between Israel’s wartime decision makers—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the former head of the Israeli military, Benny Gantz,” the publication wrote. “The three men are at odds over the biggest decisions they need to make: how to launch a decisive military push, free Israel’s hostages and govern the postwar strip.”

Via EPA

Israel’s former national security adviser Giora Eiland said “The lack of trust between these three people is so clear and so significant.” But the deep mistrust goes beyond the three wartime leaders and deeper into the governing coalition and national security cabinet as well.

The infighting is now on display even more in the wake of Israel’s retaliatory attack on Iran which took place in the early morning Friday hours. While there’s consensus that Israel aimed for a ‘limited’ attack, CNN and others have analyzed satellite images near Isfahan which ultimately show “no extensive damage on an Iranian airbase believed to be the main target.”

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has thrown fresh fuel to the fire, mocking Netanyahu’s decision-making by calling it “lame”. Ben Gvir had previously wanted Israel to “go berserk” in retaliation.

His words have once again resulted in intense controversy and infighting:

Ben Gvir, who leads the ultranationalist Jewish Power party, made a one-word post on X following the Israeli attack. Written in Hebrew, the Telegraph explained that the post used a “slang word that literally translates as ‘scarecrow’ but also means ‘lame.’” Reuters translated the word to “feeble.”

The post highlighted a public rift within the government in Tel Aviv. Ben Gvir is considered on the extreme end of Israel’s political spectrum and is popular among the right-wing settler movement. He lives in a West Bank settlement and has called for the resettlement of Gaza by Israelis.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid subsequently blasted Ben Gvir over the comment, saying: “Never before has a minister in the security cabinet done such heavy damage to the country’s security, its image and its international status.”

“In an unforgivable one-word tweet, Ben Gvir managed to mock and shame Israel from Tehran to Washington. Any other prime minister would have thrown him out of the cabinet this morning,” he added.

Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu continues to face mounting calls for his removal, especially from hostage victims’ families who have been leading large protests. They are outraged that he has not prioritized getting the hostages back.

WSJ wrote further that “Gantz, the general who led Israel’s last major war against Hamas a decade ago, has previously expressed a desire to oust Netanyahu as prime minister.” The defense chief had “called earlier this month for early elections in September after tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the prime minister’s handling of the war—a sign that Gantz’s base has grown frustrated with his role in a Netanyahu-led government.”

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