My late husband used to say that he learned how to lie and cheat in the Israeli army. One of the things he learned was that it was much better to act and then, if caught, apologize, by saying, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to do it,” than not to act at all. But while my husband grew up, after being released from the army, and tried to spend the rest of his adult life unlearning the negative effects of his military service, our prime minister never got rid this type of mentality.
Last night, he provided a great example. In a press conference, after he shamelessly refused, again, to take any responsibility for his part in the failure to anticipate and prevent Hamas attack on October 7th, Netanyahu blamed everyone else but himself for the catastrophe that befell us. Then, at 1 o’clock in the morning, he outdid himself: instead of dedicating every waking hour to work on freeing the hostages in Gaza, he found time to compose a Dreyfus-style tweet, on his friend Elon Musk’s X. In this tweet, he again reiterated his earlier accusations and released himself from any responsibility. Although it was a mere tweet, a platform of social media, he phrased it carefully and referred to himself in the third person, stating: “In contrast to the false allegations: Under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned about Hamas’ intending to go to war”… and he continued: “every defense official, including the heads of MI and the Shin Bet, believed that Hamas was deterred and sought accommodation. This was the assessment that was presented time and time again to the prime minister and the cabinet by all defense officials and the intelligence community up to the outbreak of the war.” (Michael Hauser-Tov, Haaretz, October 29th).
After facing strong criticism, Netanyahu deleted this shameful tweet, but it was evident that this was precisely what he had planned to do all along. He has already spread the poison, blamed everyone else but himself, and then, like in the army, said, “Sorry I didn’t mean to do it.” It was too late, of course; the damage has already been done.
It seems that Netanyahu has not succeeded in ridding himself of this horrible army mentality of lying and cheating to save one’s skin. However, he has never been able to understand the genuine values of the Israeli army: comradery, solidarity and loyalty.
The people of Israel deserve better, as they continue to demonstrate every day and everywhere, especially now during this dreadful war, which this government and the prime minister failed to prevent.