Israeli minister accuses Netanyahu government of turning IDF soldiers into ‘sitting ducks’

‘The number of air force bombardments has fallen dramatically, and soldiers are being sent to booby-trapped buildings like [sitting] ducks.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

On Sunday night, Economy Minister Nir Barkat (Likud) lashed out at the government for its handling of the war, saying the strategy was “too benevolent” and as a result was “unnecessarily endangering soldiers.”

According to the Hebrew media, which obtained leaks from a cabinet meeting, Barkat said, “The number of air force bombardments has fallen dramatically. Soldiers are being sent to booby-trapped buildings like [sitting] ducks.”

He continued, “No consideration can justify endangering the lives of our soldiers for some imaginary morality.”

“In practice, we protect terrorists and endanger the lives of [IDF fighters and the result is dead soldiers. This is a reckless handling of the war.”

“Leadership is tested by the ability to withstand pressure and, unfortunately, this cabinet does not withstand pressure,” Barkat declared.

Before he arrived at the cabinet meeting, Nir Barkat told the media, “Surrendering to any external pressure, even if it is from our best friends, is a grave mistake,” presumably referencing the Biden Administration exhorting Israel to downshift to a less intensive phase of the war to prevent Gazan casualties.

Barkat added, “We are too nice, and we are too considerate. And the bottom line is that our soldiers, the fighters, take disproportionate risks and we pay a heavy price.”

Responding to Barkat’s remarks and defending his policy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said at the meeting, “There are countries [whose positions] we have to take into account. If we don’t do that, eventually there’ll be a UN decision to impose a blockade on us. The whole world will be against us.”

Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the IDF denied that the current war strategy was putting ground troops in harm’s way and insisted that the air force provides needed support.

Responding to Nir Barkat’s criticisms, Hagari said, “Any IDF force on the ground that requires air support, for any mission, gets the necessary protection.”

War cabinet member Benny Gantz strongly criticized Nir Barkat for making “baseless declarations” criticizing the government’s war strategy.

Gantz said, “The soldiers of the IDF act with courage and determination…They receive all the necessary measures, and the operational activity in the field has extensive and accurate air coverage, with unprecedented strengths.”

He added, “Especially at this time, government ministers and all public leaders are expected to act responsibly in their statements, and not make unsubstantiated statements that harm the resilience of Israeli society as a whole, and the families of the fighters in particular.”

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President Isaac Herzog delivered an address warning of political conflicts and rivalries that characterized the pre-October 7th era resuming and that Israel’s disunity would give comfort to the enemy.