Former Israeli Spy Accuses Netanyahu of Destroying the Country

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.25 - 2024 9:31 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Ben Itzhak claimed that Netanyahu is "destroying" the nation.

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Gonen Ben Itzhak, a former agent of Israel's internal security service Shin Bet and now a prominent figure in the opposition movement against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, has made bold accusations against the Israeli leader.

According to Digi24 Ben Itzhak claimed that Netanyahu is "destroying" the nation, highlighting the internal and external conflicts facing Israel. Ben Itzhak, 53, who played a crucial role in arresting top terrorists during the second Intifada, criticized Netanyahu's leadership and policies.

"Netanyahu is indeed the greatest danger to Israel, and believe me, I have arrested some of the biggest terrorists during the second Intifada," he said from his home in Modiin. "I know what a terrorist is. I believe Netanyahu is driving Israel towards destruction."

Ben Itzhak's past includes collaborating with a son of a Hamas founder who became a Shin Bet informant to prevent attacks in the West Bank and arresting Marwan Barghouthi, a senior Fatah leader now serving a life sentence.

Criticism of U.S. Relations

Now campaigning against Netanyahu's sixth term, Ben Itzhak points to delays in U.S. arms deliveries as evidence that the prime minister should step down.

"President Joe Biden is Israel's greatest supporter, and Netanyahu has insulted him. He is destroying very important relations with the U.S.," he said.

For months, Netanyahu has faced street protests over his conduct in the Gaza conflict, with calls for early elections and the return of hostages held in Palestinian territories.

Ben Itzhak, who joined Shin Bet in the 1990s after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has become a leading figure in anti-Netanyahu protests. He leads anti-corruption demonstrators against the prime minister, who faces multiple indictments. Netanyahu has denied corruption charges and recently reaffirmed his commitment to defeating Hamas, the Islamist group that launched a deadly attack on Israel on October 7, sparking the Gaza war.

A Call for Change

Ben Itzhak believes Israeli security underestimated Hamas, missing crucial intelligence that could have prevented the attack, which resulted in 1,194 mostly civilian deaths, according to AFP's tally of Israeli official data.

The Israeli military's retaliatory campaign in Gaza has so far resulted in 37,626 deaths, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza health ministry. "We need an informant, like in the past, to warn us when something is wrong.

We thought our enemy was stupid, but Hamas proved smarter," Ben Itzhak observed. He argues that it is "time to change the equation" in Gaza by ending the war and garnering international support to install Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank. Ben Itzhak accuses Netanyahu of clinging to power at any cost, focusing solely on his political survival and legal troubles.

He also criticizes the prime minister for allowing nationalist Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to use the police as his "militia" to disperse weekly anti-government protests in Tel Aviv.

Ben Itzhak himself faced water cannons to protect protesters, leading to a conviction that was overturned last month. "Today, Israel is being destroyed from within. Netanyahu is destroying everything.

The more he bows to ultranationalist allies, the weaker Israel's security becomes. Everything is explosive right now," Ben Itzhak warned. If he could speak to Netanyahu directly, Ben Itzhak would tell him to "resign": "It would be the greatest help you could give to the people of Israel."