Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, is an avid reader of history and the son of one of Israel’s great historians. So he likely understands that, if the past is any guide, his long political career has perhaps never been more imperiled.

In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israel suffered devastating losses, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to express outrage at their leaders’ deadly incompetence. Prime Minister Golda Meir’s government appointed the Agranat Commission. Its initial report, released in April 1974, called for the dismissal of several of Israel’s top generals but did not hold Meir accountable...

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