Kafe Knesset for Feb. 27

The contentious State Comptroller’s report about the 2014 Gaza operation is due to be published tomorrow. The report is slated to harshly criticize Netanyahu, his former defense minister Yaalon and the IDF top brass for their inadequate preparations for the 51 day operation in Gaza. The report will also shed light on the flawed decision-making process in the security cabinet. All of this has been at the top of the headlines for days, and was the talk of the Knesset today, leading all of the faction meetings. The only one who kept silent was the Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett, who is likely to be dubbed as the great winner of the report, as the Comptroller adopts Bennett’s case against Netanyahu and Yaalon.

Netanyahu, back from a week-long tour of Australia and Singapore, opened the Likud meeting brushing off the criticism. “when one enters the cabinet he must leave the cell phones outside, as well as petty politics and personal interests. No cabinet in history was as informed as this cabinet during Protective Edge. The most important lessons are not in the report, and I – unlike the Comptroller – back and support the IDF Command.” Earlier today, Yair Lapid called on Netanyahu to publicly acknowledge that he was wrong and made mistakes. “The report is professional and profound, but also difficult and severe. Even after the Shin Bet and IDF intelligence emphasized to the PM that the tunnel threat has become a strategic threat, Netanyahu did not bring the issue to the cabinet or give the IDF the right directives to deal with it. The army did the right thing and started to amend the mistakes the day after the war started but the political echelon, and especially the PM did exactly the opposite.”

Isaac Herzog said the report is a “strategic indictment” against the leadership which reveals “how the prime minister and his cabinet failed to comprehend the threats, abandoning the citizens, the soldiers and the country at large.” While attacking Netanyahu, Herzog also used the report to slam Lapid, his main opposition rival and who served as Finance Minister and part of the security cabinet during the war, “who could and should have changed the course of the war and demanded diplomatic actions but preferred instead to be silent and sweet talk the PM”.

Defense Minister Liberman slammed the political character of the discussion and called to switch to substance. “Everything we have been hearing in recent days is not about learning lessons from our mistakes but about settling accounts and mutual accusations, this does not contribute to Israel’s security but rather vice versa – it violates the security of Israel.

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