Benjamin Netanyahu “cannot remain” as Israeli PM, says Nehemia Shtrasler in Haaretz. We saw this last weekend, when, “pale and wan despite a ton of makeup”, he stood in front of the microphone and delivered a “weird, empty speech”. How can he lead our nation in the war he has declared against the “Nazi monster called Hamas” when it is also a war for his own “personal salvation”? Over the past nine months, the controversial judicial reforms of Netanyahu’s far-right coalition have torn the country apart and destabilised the PM’s own grip on power. But since Hamas’s attack, his opponents have joined an emergency wartime government and provided him with “a lifeline soaked in blood”.
Though Netanyahu blamed the atrocity on the failings of Israel’s security services, he is “the person primarily responsible”. The army has been “thinned out” around the communities near Gaza and steadily transferred to protect “hyper-religious nationalists” in the West Bank, his extreme government’s main constituency. “If a child in a [West Bank] settlement goes out to an after-school ceramics class, a squad of soldiers accompanies him.” Until this week, Bibi had never visited the (mostly secular) Gaza border towns during all his years in power; indeed, in 2014 the government defanged the area’s security services by taking away their bullet-proof vehicles and reducing their allocation of rifles. “This delivered a mortal blow to their ability to defend themselves at the start of the Nazi massacre.” These kibbutzim “were abandoned for political reasons. They didn’t count.” And now tragedy has struck.