ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Bennett says he too bears responsibility for failure that led to Hamas assault

Former PM is the latest senior official to acknowledge culpability; Netanyahu has so far refrained from shouldering any of the blame

Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces he won't run in the next elections, at a press conference in the Knesset, June 29, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces he won't run in the next elections, at a press conference in the Knesset, June 29, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett on Monday joined a list of senior officials taking responsibility for the staggering failures that led to the Hamas terror group’s devastating onslaught on October 7.

“Of course I also bear responsibility. I served as prime minister for 12 months. There were things that I can’t elaborate on, that I didn’t have time to do that could have dramatically changed the situation, and then the government fell,” Bennett said in an interview with Radio 103FM.

Bennett served as prime minister from June 2021 to June 2022.

“Do I bear responsibility? Certainly,” he said, although he noted that as prime minister he had never allowed the transfer of funds from Qatar to Hamas, a policy that was instituted under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bid to keep the terror group quiet.

Bennett is the latest in a line of senior current and former officials to acknowledge responsibility for the failures that led to the shock Hamas assault in which some 2,500 terrorists burst through the border and rampaged through southern Israel, killing some 1,400 people  — most of them civilians — and taking at least 222 hostage to Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar have already taken responsibility, as have Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry.

Most notably, Netanyahu has not admitted any culpability.

A poll published Friday found that a vast majority of Israelis said Netanyahu should shoulder the blame for Israel’s biggest military and policy failure in five decades.

According to the opinion poll by the Maariv newspaper, 80 percent of Israelis said Netanyahu, who has not made any public statements accepting responsibility, should do so, including 69% of those who voted for the premier’s Likud party in last year’s election.

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