“There is nothing more grotesque than the idle statements of the political and security echelons about preparedness in all sectors before tensions break out,” General (Res.) Yitzhak Brik wrote in Maariv Thursday. He blames, above all else, former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who only recently spoke about the IDF’s preparedness, when, in reality, he was one of the chief architects of the IDF’s lack of readiness for the coming all-out war.
“As Chief of Staff, Gantz decided to cut hundreds of tanks and other units from the Ground Forces, crossing a red line that must not be crossed. Under his leadership, the threat surrounding Israel intensified to dimensions we had not known before: hundreds of thousands of missiles and rockets around Israel, tens of thousands of enemy fighters equipped with anti-tank weapons and artillery, and pro-Iranian Shiite militias that are gaining great power in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.”
“The operational readiness of the army and the home front for the next war is constantly weakening,” according to General Brik. “The infantry reserves have not trained and lost their readiness. As defense minister, Gantz encouraged former Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who replaced Gadi Eisenkot, to continue the same line of cuts to the army reserves, along with curtailed training, which led to a process of disintegration and the inability of the army to function properly in the next multi-arena war.”
“Gantz forgot that wars are not won with slogans,” writes Brik. “We may face a regional war, during which approximately 3,500 missiles, rockets, and unmanned aerial vehicles will be launched into Israeli territory every day, wreaking havoc on the Israeli home front and causing destruction in hundreds of sites day, with heavy losses of lives.”
“Even if the Air Force hits the bank of targets in Lebanon we know of, it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the huge amount that is in the hands of our enemies, and not only in Lebanon, but also in the hands of the Shiite militias in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and with Hamas and Jihad in Gaza and Iran,” Brik warns. “The launching of the missiles, rockets, and UAVs by the enemy will continue throughout the days of the fighting when Israel’s supplies will be limited and would last for only a short period.”
“This is a classic example of how for years the senior command of the IDF and the political echelon have been throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” Brik writes. “Instead of preparing the army for war, they were concerned with image and not substance.”
Yitzhak Barik, 76, concluded his IDF career with the rank of General. He served in the Armored Corps as brigade and division commander and served as the commander of the IDF’s military colleges. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War he fought as a company commander and received the Oz (courage) award. His last military stint was as the ombudsman for soldiers’ complaints. After his retirement in 2018, Barik became known as a harsh critic of the preparation of the IDF and the defense ministry.
“Israel was in a very difficult quandary on how to respond to the rocket launches from Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria during the Passover holiday,” notes Brik, adding, “But the political echelon forgets that this was only a test firing of weapons compared to the next multi-arena war, in which thousands of heavy missiles with warheads of hundreds of kilograms, some of which are GPS-guided, will be launched into Haifa Bay and Metropolitan Tel Aviv. Iron Dome is ineffective against them.”
Brik explains the security apparatus’s dilemma: “A harsh and disproportionate response by Israel could have resulted in the outbreak of an all-out regional war, for which the Israeli army and the rear were not prepared.”
General Brik’s urgent recommendation: “Instead of fighting each other, we must follow the flag of national and personal security and give the excellent team comprised of the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff, and the Director General of the Defense Ministry, the time and means to prepare the army and the home front as quickly as possible for a regional war, which will come sooner or later.”