Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Sunday for blaming his country’s security services for the lapses that led to the surprise attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,300 Israelis. Netanyahu has not acknowledged any responsibility for Israel apparently being caught so off-guard by the assault—despite growing public opinion that the government made serious errors in the build-up. As Israel’s top leader, Netanyahu has staunchly refused to take personal responsibility for the disaster, and throughout his political career has often refused to acknowledge error or criticism—a tactic that has served him strategically and earned him comparisons to his once close political ally, Donald Trump.
Unlike Trump, however, who makes it a policy never to apologize, Netanyahu backtracked on comments he made on Sunday about the Israeli security services, deleting a post on X.com (formerly Twitter) and posting an apology.
The apology came after Netanyahu held a press conference early Sunday morning with several of his political opponents to stress unity at a time of crisis and to face questions from reporters. Then came the first social media post: Netanyahu took to X.com shortly afterwards to blast his critics and make it clear that it was those around him—not him—who were to blame for failing to anticipate the horrific massacre.
“Under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of war intentions on the part of Hamas,” he wrote. “On the contrary, the assessment of the entire security echelon, including the head of military intelligence and the head of Shin Bet, was that Hamas was deterred and was seeking an arrangement.”
But after being criticized across the board, including by the political rivals with whom he had just sat side-by-side, Netanyahu deleted the comments and added a new post expressing personal culpability—though notably, focused only on the earlier deleted statements and not on his role in the larger security crisis.
“I was wrong,” he wrote. “Things I said following the press conference should not have been said and I apologize for that.”
The apology came as Israel has begun expanding its ground operations inside of Gaza.