NEW DELHI: Nineteen days into the war triggered by Hamas on October 7, many Israelis believe that there is need to uproot Hamas but they have no trust that their own government can oversee such a process, media reports said.
So far, Israel has seen 1,400 people killed while 224 have been abducted by Hamas. The Israel is also preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza while there are apprehensions of escalation of the war on the northern border, Times of Israel reported.
The Israelis have voiced concerns against their government citing the catastrophic failures of both government and security chiefs. They believe that the present set-up has failed in preventing the attack by Hamas and it has also failed in promptly responding to the crisis which left unarmed civilians to fend for themselves. The Israelis also believe that the slow and clumsy reservist call-up process has exposed shocking shortages in basic military equipment; and finally in government’s sluggish civil response in support of those who are displaced by the fighting, Times of Israel reported.
These public sentiments are backed up the new data which shows that Israelis’ trust in government is at a 20-year low of 18 per cent. Only 20.5 per cent of Jewish Israelis and 7.5 per cent of Arab Israelis polled by the Israel Democracy Institute in the aftermath of Hamas’s attack said they had trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet. (In June, these populations polled at 28 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively), Times of Israel reported.
Faith in the security forces and in the media, by contrast, has increased, despite the failure of the Israeli military. Jewish Israelis’ trust in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rose by 2.5 per cent to 87 per cent and Arab Israeli trust similarly increased from 2 per cent to 23 per cent. At least seven senior Israeli officials have publicly taken blame for the state’s failure to protect its citizens, including the IDF Chief of Staff, Defense Minister, the head of Shin Bet, and the head of the National Security Council.
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett has said that he also shares the blame. Notably the missing to share the blame is Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has even failed to interact with the public beyond videos, public appearances with visiting world leaders where he does not take questions, and PR photo ops with the troops, Times of Israel reported.
But blame-taking is not Israelis’ biggest gripe. Rather, to many, the government has exacerbated its October 7 failure by inadequately responding to the aftermath, the report said.
On Sunday, Netivot Mayor, considered a traditional stronghold for Netanyahu’s Likud party, sent a letter to Netanyahu accusing the government of “abandoning” his municipality. It was the latest in a growing chorus of criticism that has cracked even Likud’s famously loyal base.
It took Netanyahu a week to first visit attacked communities, and eight days to meet the families of hostages taken by Hamas. The process for negotiating their release is still not well-know even after four were released by Hamas in recent days. Israelis government involvement of released hostages is reported to have been minimal, Times of Israel reported.
The Netanyahu government has also come under heavy criticism for handling the hostage crisis with relatives complaining that they have had hardly any contact with the government representatives. In the initial days of the attack, civil society and private individuals stepped into the vacuum, organising open-source and cellphone-based tracking of missing family members, with hopes of finding clues as to their current or last-known whereabouts. With reports about IDF’s shortages of equipment to protect its reservists, the Israelis and diaspora Jews are filling the gap, pumping money, bulletproof vests and other needed supplies into the army units, Times of Israel reported.
Determined to return to power, and having burned his centrist and moderate right-wing political alliances during the five election cycles Israel held within four years, Netanyahu allied his right-wing Likud party to two far-right and two ultra-Orthodox partners.
Likud and its partners have called themselves natural allies, and have spoken about their union as an ideologically “full-on right-wing government.” But it was the most hardline coalition Netanyahu has ever led in his 16 years in Israel’s top job, and to manage it, he situated himself as a decision-making gatekeeper on top of committees and appointments, Times of Israel reported. IANS