Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday told Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Ronen Bar that he backs the agency 100%, though he did so a belated 24 hours after Bar endured multiple attacks from the governing coalition.
On Sunday, Yediot Aharonot published, and The Jerusalem Post confirmed, that Bar had warned Netanyahu of a dangerous rise in Jewish terrorism that needed to be put under control lest it lead to exponentially increasing the already severe wave of Palestinian terrorism since March 2022.
Following the report, multiple coalition ministers and MKs lashed out at Bar for his warning.
Netanyahu's delayed defense of the Shin Bet
While Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition MKs quickly came to Bar's defense, Netanyahu was silent all of Sunday.
But on Monday early evening, Netanyahu told Bar that he "backed him and the agency for their important work which they do for the security of the citizens of Israel around the clock."
It was unclear what delayed Netanyahu's statement and what finally led him to make one, though in some instances Gallant and others have lobbied him behind the scenes to back security figures when attacked by other more right-wing members of the coalition.
Former IDF intelligence chief and current INSS Managing Director Tamir Hayman tweeted that the fact that it took Netanyahu more than a day to come to Bar’s defense should serve as an alarm that “times are hard for the nation of Israel.” He added that an ongoing cycle of attacks from Netanyahu’s coalition partners on top Israeli security officials “shows that we are still at the height of a historic crisis in values and norms.”
The former IDF intelligence chief added, “And if they are attacking Ronen, a combat fighter and commander, with common sense and thoughtful, proactive and aggressive to take action, if he is under fire, no one is safe. This is dangerous. This must be stopped.”
The Prime Minister's Office did not respond to clarify questions surrounding the timing of Netanyahu's defense of Bar.