Acknowledging a “series of failures” leading up to the massacre of 1,200 Israelis and some 240 others taken hostage by Hamas militants on October 7, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel will look into the failures and draw appropriate lessons.
Mark Regev, a senior Adviser to Netanyahu said that besides the original failure of not having a warning on the unprecedented attack ahead of time, there are also other questions in the aftermath that are troublesome and require attention.
“How did Hamas manage to catch us off-guard? There were a series of failures on that day. First of all, there was the intelligence failure that we were not expecting the attack when it came and we were caught off-guard and we paid a heavy price in blood for that failure”, he told reporters in a webinar organised by Israel-Asia Center.
“The scope of the bloodshed was particularly horrific for the Israelis. We had entire families, and civilians, shot by Hamas terrorists. They came into farming villages and they opened automatic fire and massacred communities”, Regev said elaborating on the dastardly attacks that have shaken the entire population in the Jewish state.
“We really saw terrible brutal violence against our people and we weren’t prepared for it”, he acknowledged.
The senior adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister said that besides the original failure of not having a warning on the attack ahead of time, there are also other questions in the aftermath that are troublesome and require attention.
“Why is it that the terrorists succeeded in storming into Israel, from their point of view, successfully? How did they cross the frontier which is supposed to be a guarded and protected frontier? And once they were on our side of the frontier butchering our civilian population, how is it that it took so long to clean up the territory to remove the terrorist threat?”, he pointed out in the first such elaborate acceptance of the failures of the Israeli security apparatus by such a senior official.
Regev has in the past served as the government’s spokesperson at the foreign ministry and the PMO and also served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
“So all these questions need to be addressed because they are good questions. And ultimately Israel is strong and we are strong enough to admit our failures. We have to deal with these failures and we have to learn our lessons”, he said in candid admissions.
Drawing parallels with the Yom Kippur War of 1973, fifty years ago when Israel was also taken by surprise, the senior adviser pointed out that Israel had an elaborate public enquiry by a State Commission and several of those responsible for the failures had to pay a price for it.
“In the past, 50 years ago was the 1973 Yom Kippur War and then, like on October 7, Israel was taken by surprise and when the war was over and we won it, we had a whole public enquiry headed by a State Commission of enquiry led by a Supreme Court justice and former military Chief of Staffs in the Commission”, he noted.
“They made a thorough investigation and there were a whole lot of military officers and others who paid for the mistakes. It also had political ramifications. In many ways (then PM) Golda Meir’s resignation in 1974 is due to the Yom Kippur war”, Regev said.
“So I don’t know what is going to happen this time but I am sure that Israel will look into all the failures. We will do so objectively and I think lessons will be learnt”, he stressed.
The Head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, the Chief of Staff and the Defence Minister have all accepted responsibility for the failures of October 7, but Prime Minister Netanyahu has adamantly refused to do so.
He has merely said that a lot of people will have to face a lot of difficult questions after the war, including him.