IDF scrambling to find new military intel research chief

Brig.-Gen. Eli Ben Meir announces sudden resignation after ongoing personal disputes with Military Intelligence chief.

January 12, 2016 12:26
2 minute read.
IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot (R), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and PM Benjamin Netanyahu

IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot (R), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: GPO)

The head of Military Intelligence’s Research Department, Brig.-Gen. Eli Ben- Meir, is to remain in his position until the summer despite his sudden resignation notice, as the IDF scrambles to find and train a substitute for the strategically critical position.

Ben-Meir had been in the midst of personal disagreements with his superior, Military Intelligence chief Maj.- Gen. Herzl Halevi, and after concluding that the differences could not be bridged, informed the military that he was leaving, just a year into his role.

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On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot announced that he would “respect the wish” by Ben- Meir to end his role sooner than planned “in the coming months.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said the dramatic resignation is “not linked to disagreements over professional – intelligence matters.

This is an esteemed officer, dedicated and professional, who served in the IDF for 30 years in senior roles in the Military Intelligence Branch.”

It will take months for Ben-Meir’s replacement to learn the ropes of the position, meaning that Ben-Meir will have to remain until at least the summer, according to assessments by sources in the IDF.

Ben-Meir took up his position in January 2015, replacing Brig.-Gen. Itai Brun.

During a ceremony to welcome Ben-Meir at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, he stated that “we are in the heart of one of the stormiest and most challenging times that we have known in the State of Israel and in the IDF. External challenges are growing, becoming more complex and affecting multiple arenas. They are changing at a rapid pace, while the constraints within which we operate are increasing.

We will continue to work to understand the reality [on the ground], to describe it but also to influence it, while tightening our link to the IDF and its operative and operational needs.”

Halevi said at the ceremony, “The work of intelligence is complex. It is not easy to obtain the information.

To make it available is very complicated at a time when so much information is flowing, but there is no doubt that one of the most complex and substantial areas in the work of intelligence is the place where one must say what all this really means, to turn the information to knowledge.”

He added, “Intelligence does not land on our laps, clear and sharp. Hints, riddles, mysteries and contrasting trends [appear]. A minute ago you were sure you understood; a new message arrives, which throws a new light on everything up until that time.”

Brun, observed that regional changes required his division to obtain detailed, high-quality intelligence from “distant places we have not been to [before], to get to the bottom of ideas whose origins are in cultures that are totally different from ours, to unlock secrets that become increasingly hidden and, mainly, to deal with complex mysteries regarding the future.

“The intelligence we created is what allows the IDF, the defense establishment and the political echelon to deal with this uncertainty and make decisions. It is what allows for the use of military force in the present, and to build it up to deal with future challenges,” he said.

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