After a week in which top IDF forces drilled in combat scenarios against both Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, the IDF is in as good shape as it has ever been, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott said in a statement. The drills entailed joint maneuvers between ground soldiers and the Air Force, and soldiers engaged in mock battles in various kinds of terrain and settings, including urban settings. Commenting on the exercises, Eisenkott’s aide, Colonel Kobi Heller, said that “soldiers and officers exhibited a high degree of professionalism and this exercise proves that they are prepared for any scenario.”
However, not all top IDF officials agreed with the assessment of the top brass. In a series of messages to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, IDF Ombudsman General Yitzchak Brik wrote messages questioning the preparedness of soldiers. “All of the things you have been relying upon in terms of the country’s defense based on your conversations with top officials will not give you the real picture. Many of you don’t understand the situation. Many officers base their comments on inaccurate information, and those who know the truth are afraid to speak.”
The situation in the army was far more desperate than MKs believed, he said. “All the slide shows that the army shows you cannot explain the seriousness of the gaps in the way it is run – with the lack of discipline, the failure to carry out orders, the lack of following up on operations, the organizational amnesia, and other problems,” one of the messages said.
In response to the messages, MK Ayelet Nachmias-Warbin (Zionist Camp) wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in his capacity as acting defense minister, that the differences in opinion between Brik, a long-time critic of IDF readiness, and Eisenkott had “degenerated into a blame game that requires your attention. Every week there is another round of name-calling and dissent. From professional differences of opinion we have fallen to personal attacks, which have reached their heights this week with the messages sent to members of the Committee, with General Brik basically saying that the army is lying about its state of readiness. The defense minister must intervene.”