In a solemn briefing, Minister Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and ex-defense minister, acknowledged his share of responsibility for the October 7 attack by Hamas. He emphasized that anyone who has served in Israel’s leadership or defense cannot evade accountability for such incidents. “For over two decades, I’ve held pivotal roles in Israel’s defense. I cannot absolve myself from the outcomes, whether positive or negative,” he stated unequivocally.
Despite this, Gantz, echoing the sentiments of his government peers, asserted that a comprehensive investigation should await the cessation of hostilities. Only then, he stressed, could those culpable be held accountable. Regarding his involvement in the emergency government, Gantz expressed confidence in its efficacy. He defended the decision, highlighting its positive impact on Israel’s decision-making processes, diplomatic and security endeavors, internal cohesion, and external messaging to adversaries.
Addressing internal dynamics, Gantz refuted claims of discord within the cabinet and criticized National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s push for a far-right addition as ill-conceived. Regarding the government’s future, he reassured the nation, stating, “Just as I knew when to join, I’ll discern the right moment to exit.”
Gantz, while maintaining secrecy about specific plans, revealed that both the cabinet and the IDF were diligently preparing for the upcoming phases of the conflict. He emphasized Israel’s commitment to act within the bounds of international legitimacy, underscoring the paramount importance of bringing the hostages back home as a top priority in the ongoing war.
In a poignant conclusion, Gantz noted the cancellation of a planned ceremony commemorating 28 years since the assassination of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Despite this, he shared a powerful quote from Rabin: “We will no longer trust others, kind as they are. Only we will protect ourselves and every Jew. Behind our tears stands a nation and a strong – and just – power.”