Iron Dome 311 R.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / Reuters)
The IDF intends to fire 700 career officers and non-commissioned
officers (NCOs) in all branches in the coming months, as part of a
general cutback following a decrease in the defense budget. The officers
and NCOs will be notified within weeks about the loss of their jobs,
which will come into effect in May and June.
A senior officer told Globes,
"I will sit down with each one of them, and inform him that he has been
fired. By June, they will be out of a job, and they will enter the
civilian job market, and I greatly hope that they will find new work. I
am afraid of what message this is sending down the ranks, to the young
generation of soldiers who will want to serve in the army in the future.
A crisis of confidence is liable to emerge there."
of hundreds of career officers and NCOs comes at a time of uncertainty
in the defense establishment, with the complete halt in expenditures due
to the budget shortage and Ministry of Finance's demands for cutbacks
to finance the Trajtenberg recommendations
The halt in expenditures is already jeopardizing the Iron Dome
anti-rocket system, with the Defense Ministry notifying the
manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. that it will not
procure two more batteries. The ministry has also halted the transfer of
tens of millions of dollars to Rafael and Ratheon Company (NYSE: RTN)
for the Magic Wand rocket interceptor, and has canceled orders to 200
Israeli companies that manufacture components for the Merkava tank and
the new Leopard APC.
A top military source said that the halt in orders for the Merkava going could result in a shortage of spare parts by mid-year.
The cutbacks are also affecting the IDF's training schedule
"We have to decide which risks we'll have to take: procure another Iron
Dome battery, or training of troops. It's all a matter of available
money. I prefer training the troops who are the most important for the
front line at the expense of a few interceptors. The troops whom we
don’t need in the front line, we'll train in another couple of years.
It's a question of priorities; it's risk management. And it's a tough
dilemma," a senior officer told Globes.
the past few years, the IDF greatly increased training of its regular
forces and reservists, following the skills gap uncovered in the Second
Lebanon War in 2006. During the fighting, the IDF realized that forces
were sent into the field without having received training for years,
partly because of the previous round of budget cuts. "We have to be
careful not to repeat that mistake," warned a defense official last
The IDF's multi-year procurement plans are also in doubt.
Every item is being rethought. For example, the new 120-mm Keshet mortar
system being developed by Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT)
will probably have to wait.
"There are weapons systems that we
won't buy - and our ability to wage war in the immediate future will not
be affected. The IDF is well prepared for a war, but we must not forget
that the enemy has upgraded the weapons that it will point at us in the
next confrontation. In some cases, the gaps are narrowing, and it's
worrying," said the officer. "Once, a Syrian Army squad had one piece of
night vision equipment. Now it has three. 40 percent of Hezbollah
forces have long-range night vision equipment. We are aware of this, and
we know about it, and we must provide good responses at all levels."