IDF history departments working at cross purposes

Lindenstrauss: Critical information isn't documented adequately, problem could impair army's ability to study past in order to learn for future.

May 17, 2011 16:25
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers near the Gaza border

IDF soldiers near Gaza border 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)


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IDF branches and the Defense Ministry do not cooperate to enable the documentation of events within the military for historical purposes, according to a report published on Tuesday by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

The IDF’s History Department does not cover all of the army, and as a result critical information was not documented, according to the report, which was written after a six-month investigation.

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“Since it is important for the IDF to document its history so it can bring its official version of events to the public or to the establishment, it would be appropriate to set clear rules for the way the research is done, as well as for the relationship between all of the various units that participate in historical documentation,” the report said.

Lindenstrauss found, for example, that the air force, navy and Military Intelligence each operate independent history departments that are not subordinate to the main IDF History Department, which works under the O p e r a t i o n s Directorate.

“Some of the departments do not document events or engage in historical research,” Lindenstrauss wrote. “Each department works on its own, with different tools and without any cooperation between them.”

In the IAF, for example, Lindenstrauss found that the research position had remained empty for two years between 2007 and 2009 and that only NIS 50,000 had been allocated to research the air force’s critical role in the Six Day War. The Military Intelligence history department, on the other hand, focuses mostly on the branch’s legacy, while the navy department does not engage in historical research at all.

“There is no overall guidance for how this should be done in the long term,” the report said.

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