Kafe Knesset for Feb. 28

Shifting the focus from the Prime Minister, one of the politicians who received a harsh blow from the State Comptroller report on Operation Protective Edge – which was finally published this morning – is former defense minister Moshe Yaalon.

Yaalon is condemned in the report for failing to inform the cabinet of the tunnel threat and failing to prepare the IDF for dealing with it. Yaalon dismissed the findings as political for months, and has stepped up his defense efforts in recent days. Yaalon has been focused on Naftali Bennet and accused him of leaking from the holy shrine of the security cabinet. “In the next week you’re going to hear a lot about Protective Edge. Whoever was playing politics in the cabinet during the war will continue to do so this week. They’ll say that we didn’t know and that we didn’t tell them. And the biggest lie is that we weren’t prepared and we lost, that nonsense,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this week. Yaalon, who resigned from his post last May and is currently planning to establish a new party and to run for the leadership of the country, is having a tough month. Last week, the judges who convicted Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier who shot the Palestinian terrorist in Hebron last March, condemned him for making early public statements about the case before it was properly investigated.

Meanwhile, the whole political echelon went crazy today as the report was published, with dozens of statements and reactions pouring in. Bennet, who is dubbed as the main victor of the Comptroller’s probe, as the report totally adopted his version of the events and his claim that the cabinet was not informer properly about the tunnel threat, will probably be making the rounds in the TV studios this evening, and the back and forth between him and Yaalon is likely to continue. Another interesting fight unraveling is between Netanyahu and Yosef Shapira, the State Comptroller. After the PM brushed off the critique yesterday and implied that the Comptroller is undermining the IDF and security echelon, Shapira released a special statement today attacking the what he called “deligitimization attempts, especially from the political system, which are probably aimed at deterring the Comptroller and damage his standing,” he said in a special statement today. “It is important to focus on reading the report and learning the lessons from it and not badmouthing.”

President Rivlin, playing responsible adult, backed Shapira today and emphasized the watchdog’s responsibility to the Parliament and the public. “It is not the time for exchanging blows, but for learning lessons and implementing what needs to be repaired.” Earlier today, Rivlin met all of the North American senior diplomats who are in Israel for the annual gathering of consultations and meetings, including Ambassador Ron Dermer and NYC consul general Danny Dayan. Rivlin, addressed the rise in anti-Semitic incidents. “When we say ‘never again’ it means the whole world. Israel and its diplomatic representatives should stand strongly against these events and I commend President Trump for saying it clearly last week. It should be said again and again without any hesitation.”

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