IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott has ordered an official evaluation of a report issued in recent weeks by IDF Reserve General Yitzchak Barik, the chief ombudsman for soldiers in the army, which says that the Israeli army is not ready for war, should one, chas v’shalom, break out.
In a statement, the IDF said that the evaluation, to be conducted by top IDF officers and led by Reserve General Avi Mizrachi and other reserve officers, will be handled with “complete transparency and in cooperation with the various IDF divisions.” Eisenkott stressed that he believed that the army was ready for any challenge, but with that he saw value in addressing the issues raised by the report.
Barik’s report, which was sent to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was actually a compilation of several previous reports he authored, which were greeted with criticism and skepticism by IDF brass. Those reports were based on several parameters, with a lack of qualified personnel a major factor in his assessment. In recent years, IDF service has been cut, and the army had retired thousands of experienced officers – all in the interest of saving money, and this has become a problem for the IDF, the reports said.
Eisenkott has said on numerous occasions recently that the IDF is ready for any challenge. In response, Eisenkott sent a report of his own to MKs stating just that, signed by himself and other members of the General Staff. The Eisenkott report says that the army will be able to withstand budget cuts without endangering soldiers or the state.
MK Moti Yogev, a member of the Committee, said in response to the Barik report that it was “a serious document that lays out the problems engendered by the massive cuts in officer staff in recent years. The change for the negative is being felt now, and will be felt even more if an emergency comes up. The Chief of Staff, on the other hand, says that the army is ready for any challenge. There is a major gap between the two reports, and it places responsibility for the decision on how to deal with this on the shoulders of the Committee. It is our responsibility to investigate this situation in depth and develop an accurate picture of what is going on, and to act on it.”