IDF says it warned Netanyahu 4 times before Oct 7 attack; Prime Minister denies claim

Netanyahu’s office emphasized that intelligence officials had estimated that Hamas was not seeking an escalation with Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed a statement by the Israeli military claiming that security and intelligence agencies had warned him of the possibility that one of Israel’s enemies could take advantage of the political turmoil last year to carry out a major attack.

On Thursday, the Hatzlacha social activist organization revealed that an army spokesperson had responded to a petition by the group for information filed seven months ago.

In the army’s response, the spokesperson claimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu had been warned four separate times during 2023 that the perceived fragmentation of Israeli society over last year’s judicial reform plan might encourage a hostile power or terror group to launch an attack.

“During 2023, between March and July, four different warning letters were passed by the intelligence directorate, which showed how Israel’s enemies across theaters viewed the harm to cohesion in the State of Israel and the IDF in particular,” the spokesperson wrote.

Hours later, the Prime Minister’s Office responded in a statement, downplaying the IDF’s comments and denying that Netanyahu had ever received any warning regarding the possibility of a Hamas attack.

Read  Netanyahu submits bill to draft ultra-Orthodox students

“The claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu received early warning from IDF Intelligence about a possible attack from Gaza is the opposite of the truth,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“Not only was there no warning of any kind about a Hamas intention to attack Israel from Gaza, but a completely opposite assessment was provided.”

Netanyahu’s office emphasized that intelligence officials had estimated that Hamas was not seeking an escalation with Israel.

“Two references to Hamas in four intelligence documents point out that Hamas did not want to attack Israel from Gaza and that it favored a peaceful arrangement. The first reference, from 19 March 2023, notes that Hamas’s strategy is ‘leaving Gaza on the back burner’ and focusing attacks against Israel from other arenas.”

“The second reference from 31 May 2023 recommended that Israel join the ‘regional de-escalation trend’ and “take a step forward toward a peaceful arrangement with the Gaza Strip and the Hamas sovereign.”

“All of the security bodies consistently supported these assessments that Hamas was not interested in escalation but in an arrangement with Israel and that Hamas was deterred.”

The Prime Minister’s Office blamed calls for mass refusal among IDF personnel and reservists for the country’s perceived weakness during the judicial reform protests.

Read  WATCH: Israeli Border Police thwart attempted stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City

“As to the claim raised in the documents about the negative effect on our enemies of a lack of cohesion in Israel, the Prime Minister himself repeatedly warned about this danger when he spoke of those refusing to serve in the military.”

“For example, on 17 July 2023 the Prime Minister warned that the internal debate ‘is gnawing away at our deterrence against our enemies who could be tempted to act aggressively against us.'”

Last March, hundreds of IDF reservists from elite cyberwarfare and special operations units refused to show up for regularly scheduled reserve duty, in protest of the judicial reform plan.