Israeli Military Intel Chief Resigns: 'I Carry That Black Day'

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva is first senior Israeli official to step down over Oct. 7
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2024 7:13 AM CDT
First Senior Israeli Official Steps Down Over Oct. 7
Cars are on fire after being hit by rockets in Ashkelon, Israel, on Oct. 7. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate, resigned on Monday over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented attack, becoming the first senior figure to step down.   (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

The head of Israeli military intelligence resigned on Monday over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva's resignation could set the stage for more resignations among Israel's top security brass over Hamas' attack, when militants blasted through Israel's border defenses, rampaged through Israeli communities unchallenged for hours, and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, while taking roughly 250 hostages into Gaza. That attack set off the war against Hamas in Gaza, now in its seventh month, per the AP.

"The intelligence directorate under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with," Haliva wrote in his resignation letter, which was provided by the military. "I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the horrible pain of the war with me forever." Haliva and other military and security leaders were widely expected to resign in response to the glaring failures that led up to Oct. 7 and the scale of its ferocity. But the timing of the resignations has been unclear, as Israel is still fighting Hamas in Gaza and battling the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the north. Tensions with Iran are also at a high following attacks between the two enemies.

Some military experts have said resignations at a time when Israel is engaged on multiple fronts is irresponsible and could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Shortly after the attack, Haliva had publicly said he shouldered blame for not preventing the assault as the head of the military department responsible for providing the government and military with intelligence warnings and daily alerts. While Haliva and others have accepted blame, others have stopped short, most notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said he'll answer tough questions about his role but has not outright acknowledged direct responsibility for allowing the attack to unfold. Israelis' sense of faith in their military—seen by most Jews as one of the country's most trustworthy institutions—was shattered in the face of Hamas' onslaught. The resignation could help restore some of that trust.

(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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