Senior former Israeli security officials and business leaders call for “immediate removal” of Netanyahu – Fox News

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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.

In a letter addressed 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 as long as he remains at the helm.

“As the mainstay of the country's defense and one of the world's strongest economies over the past few decades, we firmly believe that Netanyahu poses an existential and ongoing threat to the people and the State of Israel and that Israel has leaders capable of doing so “We are to replace him immediately,” the letter says.

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The 43 signing 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 headed the Shin Bet intelligence agency.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the funeral of First Sergeant Major Gal Meir Eisenkot (age 25) at the Herzliya Cemetery in Herzliya, Israel, on December 8, 2023. More than 40 former Israeli security officials as well as prominent businessmen and academics are calling for Netanyahu's immediate removal from office, claiming his failures were responsible for the Oct. 7 terror attack that killed 1,200 Israelis. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Several CEOs, former ambassadors and scientists also signed the letter, including Nobel laureates Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko and Dan Schectman.

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The coalition criticizes Netanyahu's government for being full of incompetent or corrupt ministers, accuses the prime minister of forming a coalition with “extremist parties” and claims he has undermined democracy in Israel by pushing a series of controversial judicial reforms. They also blame Netanyahu for security lapses that they say triggered and enabled the Oct. 7 attack in which Hamas terrorists massacred 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.

“We believe that Netanyahu bears primary responsibility for the circumstances that led to the brutal massacre of over 1,200 Israelis and others, the injury of over 4,500 and the kidnapping of more than 230 people, over 130 of whom are still in Hamas. The letter reads. “The blood of the victims is on Netanyahu’s hands.”

The letter was also sent to U.S. national security officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and members of Congress.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 27, 2023. Critics of Netanyahu say his leadership has divided Israel and 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 in the wake of the 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 Oct. 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.

Israel's Supreme Court dealt a blow to Netanyahu's judicial reform plans earlier this month by 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 would “severely and unprecedentedly damage the core character of the State of Israel as a democratic country.”

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The letter accuses Netanyahu of fomenting political unrest that was exploited by Israel's enemies.

“The leaders of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas openly praised what they rightly saw as a destabilizing and eroding process of Israel's stability under Netanyahu's leadership and seized the opportunity to damage and damage Israel's security,” it said it in it.


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israel Defense Forces soldiers at the front line ahead of the first ground invasion. Haim Tomer, a former head of Mossad's intelligence division, called Netanyahu “incompetent” and said he appointed corrupt or incompetent ministers to key positions in the Israeli government, endangering the country. (Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו @netanyahu)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell voiced this criticism last week, stating clearly that the Netanyahu government had funded Hamas to weaken the then-ruling Palestinian Authority.

“Yes, Hamas was funded by the Israeli government to weaken the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority,” Borrell said during a speech at the University of Valladolid, according to Portal.

The letter goes on to say that in the years before the terror group took control of Gaza and the West Bank, Netanyahu funneled hundreds of millions of dollars from Qatar to bolster Hamas' military infrastructure. Netanyahu has previously denied such allegations.

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“Netanyahu is incompetent,” said Haim Tomer, a former head of Mossad’s intelligence division who signed the letter calling for Netanyahu’s ouster.

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“I think if you judge Netanyahu by his actions, by his activities, not by his speeches in American or Israeli media, but by his, I would say, activities, then you see that he lacks strategy, not even… “He is unwilling to seriously discuss what we call the end scenario or the end game of the wars in Gaza and Lebanon,” Tomer said in an interview with Fox News Digital.

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Tomer emphasized that the letter's signatories were not calling for violent action against Netanyahu or for the prime minister's illegal removal from office. He said the coalition was pushing for a legal process to elect a new prime minister and government.

“I think since October 7, people have begun to understand that this leadership is not leading the nation in a positive and right direction,” Tomer said.

However, Caroline Glick, an Israeli Middle East expert, said Netanyahu's unpopularity was being overstated by his critics.

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“Last week’s polls released by Israeli broadcaster Channel 14 show that the downward trend in support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Likud party and his right-wing religious coalition has reversed. “Netanyahu is eight points ahead of his challengers Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid by sixteen points each,” Glick told Fox News Digital.

“In the ten months before Hamas's invasion and massacre, the same retired security chiefs and academics refused to accept the election results and played a leading role in an unprecedented attack on the right of Israeli citizens to elect the country's leaders. They even tried.” “Tear the IDF apart by calling for reservists not to serve. “Your actions polarize and weaken Israel’s leadership and social cohesion,” argued Glick.

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“Viewed in context, your recent letter makes two senses. “It is in line with their long-standing effort to annul the results of the last election with any justification, and it is also an attempt to shift responsibility for weakening the country onto their political opponents,” she said.

Fox News Digital's Lawrence Richard and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.