Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog on Sunday said that the time to investigate Israel’s potential security failures in the wake of a “surprise attack” by Hamas in southern Israel and elsewhere Saturday would occur at a later time.
“It was a surprise attack,” Herzog said in an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation. “There was definitely an element of surprise, but I think we’ll have enough time to investigate that once we conclude that war in victory.”
Herzog’s comments come after Hamas launched what has been described as the largest attack on Israel in decades. Hundreds of Israelis died as Hamas attacked from different fronts.
Officials have raised questions about why Israel was not prepared for the attack, with some pointing to potential significant security failures. Herzog cautioned not to focus on the failures immediately.
“They prepared a surprise attack. They breached the border fence, they came with paragliders and through the sea,” he said. “ There will be sufficient time after the war to investigate what exactly happened. Right now, we are at war. And we have to fight that war and win it. We were attacked by a terror organization funded by Iran, and that’s where we are right now.”
Herzog also stressed the gravity of the attack.
“Israel is at war. Yesterday we were attacked by a terror organization. They infiltrated Israeli territory and killed hundreds of Israelis, at least 600 were butchered yesterday, including whole families, elderly, women, children. Babies were taken out of the mother’s lap and murdered. This is war and we have to fight that war and win it. We have to destroy [Hamas’s] war machine,” he said.
The Biden administration has pledged support to Israel but has not yet gone into details about what sort of support that entails.