Former public diplomacy minister in Netanyahu's current government, Galit Distal-Atbaryan, publicly claimed responsibility for her part in what she called the "weakening" of the nation in the lead-up to the surprise Hamas invasion and attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
“I was part of the group that weakened the state, that harmed people, that harmed citizens who in daily life are my friends, are my partners,” the Likud Knesset member said in an interview with Israel's Channel 13 news while discussing her role in government over the past year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government presented a wide-reaching plan to restore a reasonable balance between the judiciary and executive branches at the start of its term, which was partially carried out before the war.
Judicial reform opponents accused the Netanyahu coalition of seeking to neutralize the judiciary by concentrating all the power in the executive branch.
The reform plans caused large-scale, weekly – and sometimes violent – protests against the government.
“There were about 100 people who drove 9 million into the abyss, including from politics, from the media, from the leaders of the TV networks,” Distal-Atbaryan said during the interview.
She was seen as a staunch ally of Netanyahu and the reform plan, and was known for sharply-worded attacks against the opposition.
“I created a rift, I created division and I created tension. And this tension led to weakness, and this weakness, in many ways, led to the massacre… I sit here and say to the democratic-secular public - I have sinned against you, I have caused you pain and fear for your life here. I apologize for that.”
Distal-Atbaryan resigned from her position five days into the war, acknowledging that the Information Ministry she led, which had only recently been created, had no use and was a “waste of public money.”
She remained in her position as a Knesset member.
The sudden about-face of the right-wing stalwart left some commentators surprised.
Channel 12 political pundit Amit Segal, seen as right-leaning, blasted the former minister for the public excoriation of her former allies.
“If Galit Distal believes she is responsible for the massacre, the only thing expected of her is to resign,” Segal said.
“If she doesn't resign, leave us alone with this attention-seeking, which disguises itself as something else every time: once an embarrassing worship of Netanyahu; once messianic speeches in favor of Yeshiva students; and this week she repented.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.