The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared increasingly beleaguered after trying to deflect blame for the Hamas onslaught.
On Sunday he tweeted that his security chiefs had assured him Hamas was contained and had no plans to attack. Hours later he deleted the post and apologised.
The debacle prompted criticism even from allies who said Netanyahu had facilitated Hamas’s grip on Gaza as part of a strategy to divide Palestinians.
“Since coming to power in 2009, Netanyahu has built up Hamas as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority,” wrote Yoav Limor, the military affairs correspondent for Israel Hayom, a normally pro-Netanyahu newspaper.
“He was warned countless times that this was a dangerous plan: instead of bolstering the pragmatic elements, he strengthened those that will never recognize Israel’s existence.”
Ben Caspit, a commentator in Ma’ariv, called Netanyahu a “scarecrow that is stuffed with rags playing the role of prime minister” and urged his party, Likud, to remove him.
“He is unfit physically, he is unfit mentally, he is unfit morally. He needs to step down, and the sooner the better.”
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