More than 40 former senior Israeli military commanders and intelligence officials, business leaders and diplomats are calling for the “immediate removal” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office.
In a letter delivered to Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the Knesset on Thursday, the group argues that Netanyahu poses a “clear and present danger” to the state of Israel for as long as he remains in leadership.
“As key contributors to the country’s defense and to one of the world’s strongest economies over the past decades, we strongly believe that Netanyahu represents an existential and ongoing threat to the people and to the state of Israel, and that Israel has leaders capable of replacing him immediately,” the letter states.
The 43 undersigned officials include former IDF chiefs Moshe Ya’alon and Dan Haloutz, Tamir Pardo and Danny Yatom, who were directors of the Mossad intelligence agency, and Nadav Argaman and Yaakov Peri, who led the Shin Bet security agency.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the funeral for First Sergeant Major Gal Meir Eisenkot (aged 25) in the Herzliya cemetery on December 8, 2023 in Herzliya, Israel.
More than 40 former Israeli national security officials and prominent businessmen and scientists are calling for Netanyahu’s immediate removal from power, asserting that his failures are to blame for the October 7 terrorist attack that killed 1,200 Israelis. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Several CEOs, former ambassadors and academics also signed the letter, including Nobel Prize Laureates Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko and Dan Schectman.
The coalition slams Netanyahu’s government as being full of incompetent or corrupt ministers, accuses the prime minister of forming a coalition with “extremist parties” and asserts that he has undermined democracy in Israel by pushing a series of controversial judicial reforms.
Further, they assign blame to Netanyahu for security lapses they say precipitated and enabled the October 7 attack, during which Hamas terrorists massacred 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.
“We believe that Netanyahu bears primary responsibility for creating the circumstances leading to the brutal massacre of over 1,200 Israelis and others, the injury of over 4,500, and the kidnapping of more than 230 individuals, of whom over 130 are still held in Hamas captivity,” the letter reads. “The victims’ blood is on Netanyahu’s hands.”
The letter was also sent to U.S. national security officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and members of Congress.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 27, 2023.
Netanyahu’s critics say his leadership has divided Israel and that his polarizing attempts to reform the country’s judiciary have undermined democracy. (ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
It comes as Netanyahu faces a “no confidence” motion filed by opposition leaders amid war against Hamas. Critics say Netanyahu has served as prime minister for too long — 13 of the last 14 years — and that he was responsible for appointing officials and developing security plans that failed to prevent the October 7 massacre.
Even before the war, controversy over Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan led to widespread unrest in Israel throughout the summer, with tens of thousands of citizens protesting the move.
The Israeli Supreme Court dealt a blow to Netanyahu’s judicial reform plans earlier this month, striking down a law that would have banned judges from overturning government decisions the court deems “unreasonable.”
In an 8-7 decision, the court ruled that the law threatened “severe and unprecedented harm to the core character of the State of Israel as a democratic country.”
The letter accuses Netanyahu of fomenting political unrest that has been exploited by Israel’s enemies.
“Leaders of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas openly praised what they correctly saw as a destabilizing and erosive process of Israel’s stability, led by Netanyahu, and seized the opportunity to harm and damage Israel’s security,” it says.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israeli Defense Force soldiers on the front lines ahead of the initial ground invasion. Haim Tomer, a former Mossad intelligence division chief, called Netanyahu “incompetent” and said he has appointed corrupt or inept ministers to key positions in Israel’s government, putting the country at risk.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell voiced these criticisms last week, stating plainly that Netanyahu’s government financed Hamas to weaken the then-governing Palestinian Authority.
“Yes, Hamas was financed by the government of Israel in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah,” Borrell said during a speech at the University of Valladolid, according to Reuters.
The letter elaborates, alleging that Netanyahu channeled hundreds of millions of dollars from Qatar to strengthen the military infrastructure of Hamas in the years before the terror group assumed control of Gaza and the West Bank. Netanyahu has previously denied such allegations.
“Netanyahu is incompetent,” said Haim Tomer, a former Mossad intelligence division chief who signed the letter demanding Netanyahu’s ouster.
“I think when you judge Netanyahu by deeds, by his activities, not by his speeches in American media or in Israeli media, but by his, I would say, activities, you see that he lacks strategy, even doesn’t . . . he’s not ready to discuss seriously what we call the end scenario or the endgame of the wars in Gaza and in Lebanon,” Tomer told us.
Tomer emphasized that those who signed the letter were not calling for violent action against Netanyahu or for the prime minister to be removed from office illegally. He said the coalition is urging a legal process in which a new prime minister and new government will be elected.
“I think since the 7th of October, people started to understand . . . that this leadership is not taking the nation toward a positive and right direction,” Tomer said.
However, Caroline Glick, an Israeli Middle East expert, said that Netanyahu’s unpopularity is overstated by his critics.
“Polls from the past week published by Israel’s Channel 14 show that the downward trend in support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Likud Party and his right-religious coalition has been reversed. Netanyahu is leading his challengers Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid by eight and sixteen points, respectively,” Glick told Fox News Digital.
“During the ten months that preceded the Hamas invasion and slaughter, the same retired security chiefs and academics refused to accept the election results and played leading roles in an unprecedented assault on the right of Israel’s citizens to elect the nation’s leaders.
They even tried to tear apart the IDF by calling for reservists not to serve. Their actions polarized and weakened Israel’s leadership and social cohesion,” Glick argued.
“When seen in context, their latest letter makes sense in two ways. It is consistent with their longstanding effort to use any justification to nullify the results of the last election, and it is also an effort to deflect their responsibility for weakening the country onto their political opponents,” she said.