Israeli intelligence head resigns under October 7 failed criticism

The Israeli military intelligence chief resigned in disgrace for his failure to avert the Hamas attack on October 7.

On Monday, the Israeli army declared Major-General Aharon Haliva’s departure. He is the initial high-ranking Israeli official to acknowledge accountability for the failure to avert the assault, as the government attempts to maintain attention on its ongoing conflict in Gaza.

In his letter of resignation, Haliva, who served in the military for 38 years, reportedly accepted culpability for failing to prevent the attack. A total of over 1,100 individuals lost their lives in the assault, with an estimated 240 being captured.

The military issued the following statement: “In coordination with the chief of the general staff, Major General Aharon Haliva has requested to resign from his position as head of the intelligence directorate for the events of October 7 due to his leadership responsibilities.”

The military statement stated that Haliva “will cease his position and retire” from the army “once his successor is appointed in an orderly and professional process,” with the approval of Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Israel’s security establishment was taken by surprise by the Hamas offensive.

Israeli intelligence head resigns under October 7 failed criticism

In response, Israel initiated a war against Gaza that, according to Gaza health officials, has claimed the lives of over 34,000 individuals.

Haliva is the initial politician and official to accept accountability for the security breaches.

“The intelligence directorate placed under my supervision failed to fulfil the responsibility that was placed upon us.” Since that dark day, I have carried it with me throughout the days and nights. “The agonising suffering of the war will forever remain within me,” Haliva stated in his letter of resignation.

Nevertheless, the pressure has intensified due to ongoing demands for Israel to reach a compromise in order to ensure the liberation of the captives, and the prevailing tension in the area risks inciting a nuclear confrontation with Iran.

Significant strain

Political analyst Yossi Mekelberg stated that Haliva’s resignation appeared inevitable given the protracted nature of the conflict.

“The realm of Israeli intelligence is in a shambles,” stated Mekelberg, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think tank in Britain.

“Halia was under tremendous pressure,” he continued, not only because of the failures on October 7, but also because it failed to predict the Iranian reaction to the Israeli assault on its consular facility in Damascus, the capital of Syria, which precipitated an imminent conflict in the region.

“They instilled fear throughout the nation and the surrounding area; it appears that nobody forewarned Israel about the potential launch of over 300 missiles, including ballistic ones,” Mekelberg further stated.

While Haliva and others have admitted fault for their failure to prevent the attack, others have refrained from doing so, most notably Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, who has stated that he will respond to difficult inquiries regarding his role but has not explicitly admitted direct responsibility for permitting the attack to occur.

However, he maintains an optimistic stance, steadfastly advocating for the continuation of the military operation in Gaza, seemingly in an attempt to withstand the mounting political pressure that has intensified domestically and globally.

According to Doha Institute for Graduate Studies’ Omar Ashour, Haliva’s resignation letter was “a clear nudge or dig” at the leader of Israel to abdicate in the same manner.

“However, Netanyahu being Netanyahu, a shift in position is extremely improbable,” the analyst continued. “We will have to wait and see; in this war, surprises are inevitable.”

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