The Israel Defense Force’s key intelligence research division has warned that the nation’s strategic position has worsened in recent months amid the government’s contentious efforts to weaken the judiciary, according to a Tuesday report.
The ominous report by the Research Department of the Military Intelligence Directorate has been sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israel Hayom daily reported.
The newspaper said it appeared that the report had led to the defense minister’s stark warning last week that the overhaul had impacted the operational abilities of the military, and his call for the legislative push to be halted.
According to the report, the research unit highlighted the danger of the nation’s enemies identifying a weakness in the internal divisions caused by the overhaul.
The military report noted that a key element of this was Iran, highlighting that the head of the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group, Hassan Nasrallah, had met in recent weeks with leaders of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups to coordinate their positions.
The report said that Tehran was also making direct overtures to its partners in the region, and highlighted the recent bombing attack near Megiddo in northern Israel, which seriously injured a man and was carried out by a suspected Hezbollah terrorist who crossed the border from Lebanon.
The report was also said to note the danger of any potential damage to relations with the United States, particularly in light of the growing threat from Iran. The intelligence report was apparently drawn up even before the public war of words, later moderated, between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.
The spat between Washington and Jerusalem was also causing concern among Israel’s regional allies — the Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan — whose ties with Israel were brokered by the US and are at least partially based on the understanding that they could bring with them a better relationship with the US. The report said that the danger could be seen in the recent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt.
According to Israel Hayom, the key intelligence unit also said the Palestinian Authority would use the divisions in Israel to further its cause at international bodies, including the International Court of Justice at the Hague. Military reservists have warned that the overhaul may leave them exposed to legal action at The Hague if the independence of Israel’s justice system is harmed.
The newspaper said it appeared the intelligence report had led to Gallant’s warning last week that the overhaul was causing a “clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state,” and his call for it to be paused.
A day after that speech, Netanyahu’s office announced that the premier had decided to fire Gallant, leading to hundreds of thousands of people spontaneously pouring into the streets across the country to protest.
The protests swelled to the announcement of an unprecedented strike by the major businesses and the Histadrut labor federation, including the grounding of outgoing flights from Ben Gurion Airport, leading Netanyahu to announce a temporary pause to the legislative push, saying he was going to give compromise negotiations a chance.
Despite the announcement of Gallant’s firing, Netanyahu never submitted a formal letter of dismissal, and his office announced Monday that the move was officially delayed.
In its statement Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said the firing had been put off by security concerns. Reports, however, have indicated that Netanyahu is waiting for Gallant to apologize and profess fealty to the premier.
Gallant and Netanyahu appeared together at two back-to-back pre-Passover toasts on Monday, calling for a unified front.