Photo Credit: Maj. Ofer via Wikimedia Commons
Israeli Air Force F-35I Adir stealth multi-role fighter jet.

Fact 1: The Israeli Air Force is losing its combat worthiness and this means that the IDF is as well.

Fact 2: The process has been happening at a pace that is quicker than expected.


Fact 3: The government of Israel could not care less.One cannot be unworried after reading those three facts. Very concerned in fact, and perhaps even in an unprecedented way. One doesn’t have to use too many brain cells in order to realize where this is going to lead in the near term. Anyone who has lived a day or two in the Middle East knows what this will do to Israel security-wise and diplomatically and later on also socio-economically.

Some of the columnists over the weekend claimed that such information should not be published. They say that this is akin to giving away information to the enemy, who can act on it. That is a strange thing to say as journalists who should be loyal only to the truth and the public. The media’s role here is to speak truth to power rather than serve as the enthusiastic cheerleader for the government, definitely not for a government that has seen such a tectonic shift take place on its watch.

A similar claim has been made against the military’s top brass, and that is also wrong. Security agencies are subordinate to the government, but they are not its employees. They report to the public, and their only loyalty should be to the public. Their role is to sound every possible alarm and to do it in the right order: First with the government, and if that fails to prompt a response, then with the public. This is so basic, but anyone who wants a refresher should look at the minutes from the Agranat Commission, which investigated the lapses before the Yom Kippur War.

Another claim that has been repeatedly mentioned is that the IDF should be left out of the debate. It is time to call a spade a spade: For the protesters, including the reserve pilots, democracy is on the same scale as God is to religious Israelis and the rule of law is like Shabbat and kosher food. They are willing to pay the price for this fight, especially when there are so many who are just standing idly by and not willing to contribute to the state.

The most ridiculous claim has been made by those who say pilots and others who threaten not to show up for reserve duty should be relieved and replaced by others, or to call up some back from retirement. As if pilots can be ordered on eBay and Ali Express; as if age never plays a role in handling weapon systems and being fit to serve; as if those who have entered retirement will gleefully join the ranks again under the current political climate.

Here is a dose of reality to those who say that: The more pilots are experienced, the more they are involved in the fight against judicial reform. It’s true for the aircrews and for the other units that run the air force at the highest levels. These people have continued to serve above and beyond the legal age limit for reserve duty because they wanted to contribute. Now they are going to stop doing that.

The adverse effect on IDF activity is manageable, but only the delusional think that the IAF can launch an attack on Iran without them or conduct a campaign in Lebanon without them on board. Good luck with that. Unfortunately, the majority of the Coalition and government members are of that view.

I don’t have a lot of expectations from those who are extreme. They are messianic and lack responsibility and they believe that everything will be sorted out by some divine providence. That is why they have been making statements and carrying out actions that have only exacerbated the rift in society. But I am bewildered by the conduct of the other officials. How is it that people like Avi Dichter, Nir Barkat, Yuli Edelstein, Israel Katz, and others who believe they are leaders, cannot appreciate the gravity of things? What’s worse, perhaps is that they don’t care that the IAF is unraveling, that the IDF is getting dismembered, and that Israel is being broken into pieces.

And then there is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is presiding over all of this. The most experienced person in the system, who used to tread very carefully in the holy of holies called Israel’s security, who has done his utmost to make sure the IDF and Israel’s security maintain their edge, is now the man who is going to be responsible for the demise of this very system.

If his people have been painting a false depiction of the situation, he should ask for a direct meeting with the top brass of the Israeli Air Force or with the senior officials at Mossad and the Shin Bet security agency. He should hear them out not just on what is unfolding but on what could unfold down the road and especially on how severe the current situation is.

Such words have never been spoken; such a situation has no precedent. The rift is so big that even if the judicial reform is shelved today, the healing will be long and hard. Unfortunately, the way things are going, the chasm will only intensify, as the government is poised to advance a bill that would give the Haredim blanket exemption for national service and compare their benefits to those who do serve. This can become the fault line after which nothing will be the same. It is doubtful that the IDF would be able to continue functioning in its current format when that day arrives.

It is just shocking to see how such statements are not moving the needle in Israel in 2023. Rather than stop and take care of what’s wrong, the government is moving full throttle toward the abyss in the name of laws whose overall value is without any comparison to the actual value of having the state continue to exist. Things will reach their peak in several weeks when the combat worthiness of the armed forces will reach scary proportions and senior IDF officials will have to speak out. We can already anticipate the response by some, who would call for their heads to roll as if that will change anything.

The change has to come from those who have created this madness: the Israeli government. If it does not stop, the catastrophe will arrive. If you don’t believe me, just read, listen, and think. Rather than shoot the messenger, listen to the message. Because never in its 75 years has Israel faced such a severe strategic warning.

{Reposted from IsraelHayom}


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