IDF’s Response to Criticism: We’re Prepared for War

Israel war
IDF Ombudsman Major General (res) Yitzchak Brik. (Flash90 )

A committee that examined the IDF’s military preparedness in the wake of a report by IDF Ombudsman General Yitzchak Brik said that the official’s criticism on the army’s ability to face its enemies is out of order. “The IDF’s ground forces are ready for war,” the report said. “We have found a significant improvement in the capabilities and readiness of ground forces as a result of the multi-year program we embarked on to do this,” the report concluded, referring to the Gideon improvement plan, which began in 2015.

In his own report, Brik had told the Knesset Oversight Committee that the army was woefully unprepared for modern military confrontations. “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,” he told MKs in October. “All the slide shows that the army shows 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 issues, and other problems. I know the IDF better than any general in the army today,” Brik said. “We are facing a catastrophe akin to that before the Yom Kippur War, and I don’t want a repeat of that.”

In response, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott set up his own investigative committee, which issued its report on the army’s readiness Wednesday. In the report, the IDF said that the Gideon program had achieved its goals in almost all areas of preparedness, including intelligence, battle-readiness, weapons technology, organization, and exercise infrastructure. Some problems were noticed in the latter category, but they can be fixed, the report said. Eisenkott intends to institute an annual report on this matter.

Brik has been a longtime critic of top IDF brass. In November, Eisenkott said, after a joint exercise involving ground soldiers and the Air Force, the IDF is in as good shape as it has ever been. 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.” Brik, in response, said the situation was “critical,” and that the IDF needs an external investigative committee, such as the Weinograd Committee which investigated the IDF’s level of preparedness during the Yom Kippur War.