On Thursday, General (Res.) Yitzhak Brik wrote in Maariv that “there is nothing more grotesque than the idle statements of the political and security echelons about preparedness in all sectors before tensions break out,” while “the operational readiness of the army and the home front for the next war is constantly weakening,” and “the infantry reserves have not trained and lost their readiness.” (General Brik: The IDF Not Ready for All-Out War).
On Friday, General Brik named in a Makor Rishon article the full list of those responsible for the IDF’s unpreparedness for the next war.
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.
At the top of Brik’s list of culprits are the High Command and the IDF Spokesman. “The High Command through the IDF spokesman, together with the political echelon, have been throwing sand in the eyes of the public for many years and are not telling the people the truth about what awaits them in the next regional war. The IDF spokesman’s office, with a staff of hundreds of soldiers and officers, has turned into a public relations agency whose entire function is to raise the prestige of the army in the eyes of the public at the expense of true reports.”
As a result, Brik warns, government ministers and Knesset members are ignorant of the real state of the military and are often fed fictitious presentations by the IDF High Command in the Cabinet and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
“They are so ignorant, in fact, that they still don’t understand the serious threat that has intensified around Israel to dimensions we have not known before, and believe that we have a strong army and that it’s only a matter of deciding when to go to war and defeat the enemy,” writes Brik, adding: “The politicians operate in virtual reality and do not let the facts confuse them. What drives most politicians are commentaries, beliefs, opinions, feelings, and very few facts. The truth is not their guiding light.”
The worst disease that currently infects the security apparatus, according to General Brik, is a culture of fear of expressing a different opinion, which grips the senior command and seeps down to the junior ranks. “Even reserve and retired generals keep mum and are afraid to talk about the precarious state of the army,” he notes. “This silence of the lambs means that personal interest prevails over the national interest,” and, naturally, there’s the ever-present senior commanders’ shirking of responsibility for their failures.
Here are the other culprits in the IDF’s shoddy state in General Brik’s opinion:
Research institutions telling the nation it can rely on its strong army, instead of conducting reliable studies of the real state of the army
Military Intelligence, ignoring the need to present hardcore information on the enemy’s capabilities in favor of psychological evaluations of the enemy’s plans
The depreciation of the ground forces by a succession of chiefs of staff who preferred the air force over the infantry and the armored corps, believing they were forging a leaner army when in reality they created a weaker army
The air force which has proven time and again its inability to slow down the clip of rocket attacks, never mind stop them
The media, which are saturated with military correspondents who offer a reassuring picture of reality, the same way they did before the Yom Kippur War, with everyone echoing the message that “our situation has never been better”
The National Security Council whose initial role was to participate regularly in cabinet meetings and warn about emerging dangers, but instead has become another publicity for prime ministers and defense ministers
Last but not least: The division in the nation which, over the past three months featured a fight to the death between left and right, secular and religious, drenched in an abysmal hatred that drives people crazy, that frustrates any immediate care for Israel’s national and personal security, causing the acceleration of the country’s deterioration down a slippery slope to hell.
Shabbat Shalom… ?