The outgoing commissioner of soldiers’ complaints, Major General (res.) Yitzhak Brick, on Thursday appealed to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and warned them that IDF commanders do not tell them the truth about deficiencies in the army. In a report he sent to committee members, Brick warned of a manpower crisis, defects in the storage and maintenance of tanks and armored personnel carriers, and a problematic reporting culture.
“What I present to you here you will not hear from the IDF senior command,” Brick wrote Knesset members. “For many of the commanders, not only do some of them are not aware, but even those who are aware are afraid to speak out, lest they be punished – and mainly the do not want to be subject to criticism… To my chagrin, I find that some IDF commanders’ mouths and hearts are not the same.”
“I recommend and even urge you to go down to the field, talk to the career soldiers, let them show you what is happening in the emergency services, share with you their problems and difficulties,” Brick wrote. “It won’t be the divisions, brigades and battalions commanders from whom you’ll learn about the reality that prevails in the field. You should learn it from those for whom it is their lives’ routines… Their statements are knowing statements, and they are the truth.”
Brick described a recent visit to the army’s emergency warehouses. “The soldiers with whom I spoke raised serious problems, in addition to serious statements regarding the senior command,” he wrote. He quoted those rank and file soldiers as saying the shortage of manpower does not allow taking care of weapons, tanks, and armored personnel carriers, which routinely suffer from mishaps.
According to him, the NCOs with whom he spoke also told him that they are forced to submit reports that are not true and “round the corners,” which the army knows and ignores. The told him that “the situation in the emergency warehouses is on the brink of disaster.”
According to Brick, “The IDF today has huge gaps in many areas, the most significant of which is the gap in manpower as related to the required tasks – that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
He added that the multi-year plan “Gideon” plan instituted by Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot has “led to crises in manpower that harm the IDF’s ability to carry out its missions in the best possible manner.”
Brick wrote further: “Most of the issues presented in the report cannot be corrected within a few months. […]
The gaps we face require fundamental corrections and reform.”
“The task will land on the desk of the new chief of staff,” the retired commissioner concluded.