Far-right ministers said to have clashed with IDF chief during security cabinet meeting

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi clashed with far-right members of the security cabinet last night over efforts to draft ultra-Orthodox men into the military and the intensity of fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to Hebrew media reports.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich slammed Halevi for “publishing messages and videos about Haredim.”

“This is a political issue and a chief of staff is not supposed to speak about it. I think that the remark by the chief of staff is out of place,” he added.

Halevi responded: “The IDF was instructed by you to draft Haredim now. Take responsibility. I know this is an unusual word here. Until then I will continue to recruit from all parts of Israeli society. The IDF needs manpower.”

Smotrich then asserted: “You are interfering in a political issue.”

“You are wrong and misleading,” Halevi snapped back. “I am not interfering, I am working to encourage the Haredi draft. The IDF needs it for security.”

Additionally, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir grumbled that the IDF is fighting in one area while setting aside others as humanitarian zones: “This is a mistake. This is not the way of war.”

“I already said that the IDF is eliminating, clearing and conquering areas, and then, next to that, a humanitarian area is created for the civilian population,” Halevi said, then appearing to take a shot at the minister’s lack of military experience.

“I know that during operations you commanded, you did not see it right to define humanitarian areas,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter then told Ben Gvir that he should try and understand Halevi when he speaks.

“With all your experience, I was probably right and you are wrong. I told you, let’s bomb Gaza. Probably a little less arrogance is needed,” Ben Gvir replied.

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