Defense-Intelligence Reconciliation Ends Gaza War Rift

YERUSHALAYIM -

The confrontation between the IDF and Shin Bet over disputed early warnings of an impending war with Hamas last year was brought to an end on Friday at a reconciliation meeting at the home of IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.

Officials told reporters that the differences had remained at the upper echelons, and cooperation between the defense and intelligence personnel at operational levels had been unaffected.

Last week, Gantz lodged a complaint with Prime Minister Netanyahu about allegations that were made in the media to the effect that intelligence alerts of an impending war with Hamas had gone unheeded. Gantz denied it and demanded an investigation.

Netanyahu convened the two parties, the IDF chief and Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen and ordered them to settle the matter. The Shin Bet subsequently said that no specific warning of approaching war had been given; but that an alert of a major terrorist Hamas attack using the tunnels was passed on, and that the army had responded accordingly.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon praised the reconciliation, emphasizing that ongoing inter-organizational cooperation is vital for Israel’s national security.

“I meet the officers and soldiers of Military Intelligence and the people of the Shin Bet often — they are the best we have,” Yaalon said.

They work day and night to bring military and political leaders the best intelligence, while investing thought, creativity and imagination in a complex, challenging and fast-changing reality.”

“If this is harmed — we will all be harmed. What happened this past week must not repeat itself. The right place to smooth over differences on such critical and covert issues for Israel is in the closed room,” he added.

In a rare joint statement issued by the IDF and Shin Bet, they said that “procedures were agreed upon to strengthen cooperation between the organizations on behalf of the security of the state of Israel.”