Israel Fires Head Military Chief

( – On Monday, Major General Aharon Haliva, the head of Israeli military intelligence, announced his resignation, marking a significant response to the failures associated with the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. This attack, which breached Israel’s border defenses, resulted in the deaths of 1,200 individuals, mostly civilians, and saw about 250 people taken hostage into Gaza, igniting the ongoing conflict now entering its seventh month.

In a heartfelt resignation letter, Haliva expressed profound regret over the intelligence lapses: “The intelligence directorate under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the horrible pain of the war with me forever,” he wrote. His resignation, provided by the military, won’t take effect immediately as he plans to stay until a suitable successor is appointed.

Haliva’s resignation aligns with the start of Passover, intensifying its significance as military operations in Gaza have decelerated, possibly ahead of a new offensive in the southern city of Rafah. This period also coincides with heightened tensions due to ongoing skirmishes with Hezbollah along the northern border and escalated confrontations with Iran.

The timing and implications of resignations among Israeli military and security leaders are complicated by these multifaceted conflicts. Some military analysts criticize the timing of such resignations, suggesting they might project a sign of weakness at a time when Israel is engaged on several fronts.

This resignation comes amid a broader crisis in confidence within the Israeli public towards their security establishment, traditionally regarded as one of the nation’s most reliable institutions. The unanticipated attack by Hamas on a Jewish holiday shattered this trust and highlighted severe shortcomings in Israel’s defensive strategies.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid responded to the resignation by calling it “justified and dignified,” indirectly critiquing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not stepping down in light of the events. Calls for Netanyahu’s resignation have intensified, spurred by a growing protest movement demanding early elections.

Netanyahu, while addressing the nation on the social media platform X, spoke of the ongoing captivity of approximately 130 Israelis in Gaza, reflecting on the somber mood as Passover begins: “As we gather around the Seder table to commemorate and celebrate our journey from slavery to freedom, our hearts are heavy with the plight of the 133 Israelis who remain in captivity,” he stated, emphasizing an unyielding resolve to secure their release.

In a poignant display of protest, hundreds gathered for a Seder outside Netanyahu’s residence, blaming his administration for not securing the hostages’ release.

The conflict has wreaked havoc on Gaza, with over 34,000 Palestinian fatalities reported by local health authorities, the majority being women and children. The war has not only caused extensive destruction in Gaza’s largest cities but also precipitated a humanitarian crisis with the potential for a famine.

On the same day, tensions escalated with Hezbollah launching rockets into northern Israel, which retaliated without reported casualties. The exchange of fire continues to be a daily occurrence along the border.

Furthermore, an incident in Jerusalem saw a car ramming into pedestrians, followed by an armed confrontation, with police later apprehending two suspects involved in the attack.