Assailing military, Yair Netanyahu claims ‘treason’ in leadup to October 7 attack

Reacting to High Court order to suspend probe into IDF, PM’s son cites reports of warnings and consultations before Hamas attack, says father was kept in the dark

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair tore into the military on Monday, citing the High Court of Justice’s interim order instructing the state comptroller to suspend any aspects of his probe into the failings relating to October 7 that deal with the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet.

“What are they trying to hide? If there was no treason, why are they so afraid for external and independent parties to check what happened?” the premier’s son wrote on X.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman’s investigation has been controversial ever since he announced it in December 2023. Good-governance watchdog groups petitioned the court against the comptroller’s initiative, arguing that it was not in his purview and would harm the IDF’s operational capabilities.

Groups also expressed concern that the investigation would ignore political responsibility for the devastating invasion and massacres. The IDF and the State Attorney’s Office also opposed the investigation.

In his post, the younger Netanyahu said: “To this day, no answer has been given for why they didn’t update the prime minister about the discussion held the night before 10/7.”

He was presumably referring to a telephone consultation held by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at around 5 a.m. the morning of October 7, following an email sent from an IDF base on the Gaza border earlier that night about “certain signs coming from Gaza.”

File – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair arrives for a court hearing in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

“Why didn’t they inform [the prime minister] about the material revealed in the ‘Walls of Jericho’ report?” the younger Netanyahu continued.

A report in The New York Times in December alleged that Israel had obtained detailed battle plans from Hamas more than a year before the attack, and had codenamed the 40-page document “Walls of Jericho.”

The plans reportedly called for a barrage of rockets, the use of drones to disable security cameras, and an invasion on foot, motorcycles, and paragliders.

“Why did the heads of the army and intelligence always tell [the prime minister] that Hamas was deterred? Where was the air force on 10/7?” continued the post by Yair Netanyahu.

The post concluded with a note that “a state investigative commission,” which is being sought by petitioners, is chaired by a judge from the High Court of Justice, “and therefore is almost always used as a cover-up committee for the left.”

The judiciary is a frequent target of ire from the right, and in particular from the Netanyahu government, which sought to limit the High Court’s power in the year before the outbreak of the war, sparking major controversy and a large-scale protest movement.

Always courting controversy

Yair Netanyahu is known for his provocative online presence and has faced legal action over his social media activity.

On Saturday, he shared a post casting top security chiefs as “fatal failures.”

Last month, he shared a video of a masked IDF reservist pledging allegiance to the prime minister while threatening mutiny against IDF Chief Halevi and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant if the military would not pursue “complete victory” over Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Knesset plenum session in Jerusalem on May 27, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In December, he liked a social media post accusing Halevi of initiating a de facto military coup on October 7, claiming the military chief knew ahead of time of the devastating Hamas assault but did not tell the premier.

Ostensible attacks on the defense establishment are not limited to the premier’s son — on Sunday the elder Netanyahu reportedly told ministers, “We have a country with an army, not an army with a country.”

Yair Netanyahu, who now resides near Miami, reportedly moved to Florida last year after the premier and his wife demanded that he stop posting on social media and not speak directly with lawmakers or ministers amid accusations he was inflaming tensions in Israel and exacerbating a diplomatic rift with the United States.

Along with his contentious social media presence, Yair Netanyahu has faced criticism for remaining in the US despite the outbreak of war, as tens of thousands of Israelis returned home to join the over 300,000 reservists initially called up.

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